Photo: Tori Hartman
The Hershey Bears (11-10-0-3) head into another 3-in-3 weekend as they begin at Lehigh Valley (14-7-1-2) 7:00 pm this evening. This will be the fifth match-up between the two clubs this season, with the Bears holding a 1-2-0-1 record against the Phantoms to-date.
Saturday night the Bears will host the Phantoms for a 7 p.m. puck drop at the Giant Center. It is Penn State Health Ornament Night; the first 5,000 fans will receive a Holiday Ornament courtesy Of Penn State Health. Fans are also encouraged to bring toys to donate for the Toys for Tots Drive.
On Sunday night rivals will meet once again as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (13-6-1-1) come to town. The first 3,000 fans will receive an ice scraper, courtesy of CJ’s Tire & Automotive.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Phantom Players to Watch
Danick Martel leads the Phantoms in scoring with 14 goals. Greg Carey has 12 goals this season. Phil Varone is an incredible play-maker, leading the Phantoms with 19 assists. Goaltender Dustin Tokarski is coming off a big 5-0 shutout against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguin this past Wednesday evening. Corban Knight and Matt Read each tallied a multi-point game and will surely be hungry to keep this point streak alive.
Mathias Bau is second on the Bears roster in scoring with seven goals, all coming on just 18 shots. The Bears hold the top slot with regards to their success on the penalty kill.
Lehigh Valley has been exceptional on the penalty-kill and has successfully killed off all 20 of the past man-disadvantages. The Phantoms continue to hold a strong overall record at 14-7-1-2, good enough for third in the tough Atlantic Division.
Phantom and Bears Past Contests
The Phantoms have over-powered Hershey so far this season, leading in scoring 14-4. The Bears fell 7-2 in both outings at the PPL Center, the most recent coming one week ago.
Phantom and Bears Transactions
Hershey Bear Travis Boyd made his NHL debut this past week, playing in two games with the Washington Capitals. He has since been re-assigned to Hershey and has returned to the roster in time for tonight’s contest. Kris Bindulis was sent to the South Carolina Stingrays this past week. Tyler Graovac was sent back to Hershey and may make an appearance in tonight’s contest.
The Phantoms have recently lost some key players, as they were recalled from loan by the Philadelphia Flyers. Blue-liner T.J. Brennan and goaltender Alex Lyon were both recalled Wednesday and will not be available for tonight’s game. John Muse was recalled from loan to the Reading Royals and was returned to the Phantoms roster. Mark Alt was called up by the Flyers last Saturday.
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins
Penguin Players to Watch
Daniel Sprong leads the “Baby Pens” in scoring with 10 goals in 20 games, and is tied for the top spot in points with Dominik Simon. Sprong notched two-points when he was last seen in Hershey during Teddy Bear Toss night. Simon and Kevin Czuczman share the top slot for assists.
Wilkes-Barre is tied for the top spot in the Atlantic Division with the Providence Bruins, but sit on the bottom of the division for power play conversion rate. The Phantoms took down the Penguins last Wednesday 5-0. This was the first shutout against the Pens since March of the 2016-17 season.
Penguin and Bears Past Contests
Hershey has gone 2-2 against Wilkes-Barre so far this season. The last time these two teams lined up for battle was last Sunday night in Hershey. The Penguins notched the first two points in the first period, making expecting fans wait to launch their teddy bears until the second period.
The Penguins lost five players within two days, including Goaltender Colin Stevens, who was released from PTO. Frank Corrado was recalled from loan by Pittsburgh while Freddie Tiffels returns to the line-up after being reassigned by Pittsburgh from Wheeling.
By Allison Shuey