Photo: Tori Hartman
Coming off a 3-0 loss at Giant Center to the Providence Bruins (17-6-2-0), the Hershey Bears (12-13-0-3) are ready for vengeance Saturday night. The Bears have a schedule advantage, not playing until Saturday night’s matchup, while the Bruins visit the Syracuse Crunch Friday night.
- Bears netminder Vitek Vanecek has had the hot hand in his past few starts and was awarded with the start on Wednesday in the Bears’ shutout loss to the Baby Bruins
- The last time the Bears and Bruins played back-to-back was in Providence, where they split the two games with identical scores of 4-1.
- Hershey outshot Providence on Wednesday night 28-20, despite losing 3-0 on home ice. The Bears were 0-4 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.
- Hershey has a 1-2 record against the Bruins so far this season.
The Bruins are in the midst of an eight-game win streak, good enough to put them in a comfortable lead of the Atlantic Division and are 9-1-0-0 in their past 10 games. The Bruins were the first team to shutout the Bears at Giant Center since November 14, 2015, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers shutout the Bears 5-0. The Bruins have scored 75 goals and have allowed 59 goals against.
Bears Head Coach Troy Mann commended his team on a playing a solid game, despite the fact the Bears were unable to get themselves on the scoresheet. The Bears’ top-notch penalty kill continues to be one of the best in the league, as they lead the Atlantic Division with an 85.2% kill rate. The Bears are currently sixth in the Atlantic Division with a 12-13-0-3 record, and are 4-5-1-0 in their last 10 games, and have scored 75 goals on the seasons, while allowing 92 goals. They have lost two straight (0-2-0-0).
Bruins Players to Watch
Goaltender Zane McIntyre (10-4-1, 2.66 GAA, .907 save percentage, one shutout) led the Bruins to victory on Wednesday, with help from goals by Colton Hargrove, Anton Blidh, and Zach Senyshyn.
Austin Czarnik leads the Bruins in points with 22 (seven goals, 15 assists) in 19 games played due to his stellar play-making skills, while Jordan Szwarz has found the net more than any other Bruin this season, having scored nine in 13 games played. Defenseman Sena Acolatse has spent an average of 4:47 minutes per game in the sin bin for Providence.
Bears Players to Watch
Forward Chris Bourque continues to hold onto his points lead of the League with 32 points in 28 games played, despite his minus-11 rating. Travis Boyd continues to prove himself as a gifted playmaker himself, as he currently sits second on the team in assists with 17 and second in points with 20 in 27 games played. As mentioned above, Vanecek (3-3-0, 2.18 GAA, .899 save percentage, one shutout) has been pushing incumbent starter Pheonix Copley for more starts and playing time. Copley (6-4-2, 2.94 GAA, .894 save percentage) has struggled somewhat this season, but is still by far the Bears’ most experienced netminder. Rookie defenseman Lucas Johansen leads all Bears blueliners with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 27 games played.
By Allison Shuey