Hershey Bears Week Preview: Phantoms And Senators


Casey Wellman – Hershey Bears Photo Credit: Tori Hartman

Hershey Bears fans, it’s the last week of the regular season! Where has this season gone? The Hershey Bears are finally home after spending two weeks on the road. One thing is for sure, the weather is warming up and so are things on the ice, which means we must be getting closer to the playoffs. Here are some of the Hershey Bears’ players who are also warming up.

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More of the Hershey Bears’ numbers can be found in the weekly release. The Hershey Bears have three games in their final week, two against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and one against the Binghamton Senators. The Phantoms and Senators are two familiar opponents as they are every season, and the Bears will look to wrap up these two teams on a positive note. Let’s go!

Hershey Bears vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms 

Hershey Bears record against the Phantoms: 6-2-1-1

Phantoms’ record: 32-32-7-1 in 72 GP

Phantoms’ in the standings: 72 points, 11th in Eastern Conference (eliminated from playoffs)

Reassignments: Nick Cousins, Jason Akeson, Brandon Manning have all been reassigned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms with the conclusion of the Philadelphia Flyers’ season.

Broadcast: Tuesday’s game will be shown throughout Central PA on ABC 27.2, Verizon Fios 461, Comcast 246, Blue Ridge 152, Kuhn 67 

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are 3-6-1-0 in their last 10 games, but should have some extra added support from the reassignments they just got back from Philly. It has been over a month since the Hershey Bears played the Phantoms. The last game was one of Philipp Grubauer‘s six shutouts of the season as the Bears won 2-0. The Hershey Bears haven’t done so well on the power play as of late, but maybe things will change against the Phantoms. Lehigh Valley has the 19th ranked penalty kill going at 82.8%. The Bears should get ample opportunity on the PP, too since the Phantoms are the most penalized team in the AHL averaging 23.9 penalty minutes a game. It’s the Flyers’ affiliate, are you surprised? Me neither.

*Don’t forget fans that the final game on Sunday against the Phantoms is Fan Appreciation night! Come out and support the Bears before they head into the playoffs.

Player to watch: C Nick Cousins (21-34-55 in 60 GP)

Cousins is having a breakout season in his second full season with the Flyers organization. A switch from Adirondack to Allentown seemed to spark his scoring as Cousins is posting a new season best in points (55) compared to last seasons 29 points in 74 games. Nick Cousins has posted two hat tricks this season and was named the CCM Player of the Week for March 16th. Cousins hasn’t had a game with the Phantoms since his one goal, one assist performance on March 14th. His play this season earned him an 11 game recall with the Flyers who just reassigned him a few days ago.

Hershey Bears vs Binghamton Senators

Hershey Bears’ record against the BSens: 5-1-1-0

Bsesns’ record: 32-33-7-1 in 73 GP

Bsesns’ in the standings: 72 points, 12th in Eastern Conference (eliminated from playoffs) 

The last time the Hershey Bears played the Binghamton Senators was on March 13, and the Bears held on for a 2-1 regulation win. The BSens are 5-5-0-0 in their last 10 games. The Sens’ season will be over this weekend, and they are previewing some new tryouts for next season. One those tryouts is current BSens’ defensemen Chris Wideman’s brother, Alex Wideman. Sens are keeping it with the family, and if Alex as a forward can put up the numbers that Chris has as a defensemen, it’s a good pick up.

Player to watch: LW Cole Schneider (28-27-55 in 66 GP)

Cole Schneider is fourth in goals in the AHL with 28. Schneider’s 55 points is third on the Binghamton Senators team. He is currently on a three game point streak with 5 goals, 2 assists, and 7 points. Schneider continues to post new season high totals in goals and points. This past weekend, he had a hat trick and one assist against the Albany Devils.


Playoffs: There are only two remaining playoffs spots left open in the Eastern Conference. The Worcester Sharks need one point to clinch the 7th seed, and the Portland Pirates need four points to tie up the 8th and final seed. (Playoff Primer) The Hershey Bears clinched the second seed a few weeks ago, but they are looking to secure the division this week. The magic number to clinch is four with the number reducing from either a Bears’ win or a WBS Penguins’ loss.

The WBS Penguins aren’t letting Hershey wrap up that position so quickly though. They are riding a four game win streak. Three of the wins came while rookie goalie Matt Murray was in net. Murray picked up another two shutouts against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in those three wins and now has 12 total shutouts on the season. WBS has three games remaining against the Albany Devils, Norfolk Admirals, and Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Reassignments: The Hershey Bears got Stanislav Galiev back after spending the weekend on his first NHL recall with the Washington Capitals. Galiev has truly stepped up his game this season and really deserved his recall. I was a little too excited to see he scored his first goal. That’s the cool thing about watching the AHL, you get to see players develop and achieve their dreams. Good for you Stan!

Galiev will give a big boost to the lineup, but it would be nice to have Andre Burakovsky back, as well. Burakovksy was recalled in the wake of injuries plaguing the Caps. Alex Prewitt tweeted this morning that all Caps players were at practice and accounted for, so maybe Burakovsky will be back before the Caps start the playoffs this week.

Prospects: It’s the time of year that the Washington Capitals’ prospects check in with the Hershey Bears to learn more about the organization and how professional hockey works. This past week, 2014 first round draft pick Jakub Vrana and 2014 seventh round pick Kevin Elgestal joined the Hershey Bears. Vrana and Elgestal will join fellow prospects Travis Boyd, Christian Djoos, and recently signed ATO Keegan Asmundson.

Tim Leone of PennLive also reported that Head Coach Troy Mann told him Tyler Lewington and Madison Bowey are expected to join the Hershey Bears at the end of their seasons. Check back to Stars and Sticks later in the week for some photos of the new prospects practicing with the Hershey Bears. Ohhh, exciting!

ECHL Affiliate: The South Carolina Stingrays are continuing the affiliation greatness as they have also made it into the playoffs. You may recall the amazing 23 game win streak these Stingrays boys were on. The 4th seed Stingrays are set to play the 5th seed Reading Royals. The Royals were the Hershey Bears ECHL affiliate last year, so it may be challenging for some Bears’ fans to cheer against the Royals’ players they watched win the Kelly Cup in 2013. Regardless, the playoff schedule is set and can be found here. Be sure to support these guys and come check out some of the Caps’ prospects like Caleb Herbert, Garrett Haar, and Michal Cajkovsky.

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