The Hershey Bears return home this weekend for two games on Friday and Saturday against the Adirondack Phantoms and Albany Devils. The Bears then travel to Albany for a Sunday matchup against the Devilsin the back end of a home-and-home series. Hershey is currently placed fifth in the Eastern Conference, seven points behind the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
3/16/12: Hershey Bears (31-20-4-6, 72 points) vs. Adirondack Phantoms (30-28-2-1, 63 points)
Adirondack comes into this contest in the midst of a playoff race, only one point behind the eighth seeded Albany Devils. The Phantoms are led offensively by rookie Jason Akeson, who has 10 goals and 34 assists through 61 games. Former Hershey Bear Matthew Ford has been outstanding with the Phantoms posting 10 goals and 4 assists with his new club. Adirondack is a relatively young club compared to the Bears, but has veteran leadership in the form of Matt Walker and goalie, Michael Leighton. Leighton has had an average season, posting 2.67 goals against average along with 21-21-1 record in goal. The Phantoms are going to come to play with so much on the line and Hershey must match their intensity to earn a win. Expect a highly physical game from both sides with a lot of big hits and a possible fight or two.
3/17-18/12: Hershey Bears (31-20-4-6, 72 points) vs. Albany Devils (27-24-6-4, 64 points)
Albany currently holds the eighth seed in the Eastern conference, only one point ahead of the Worcester Sharks. The Devils are led offensively by rookie forward Joe Whitney. Whitney has netted 13 goals along with 22 assists. Forwards Steve Zalewski and Vladimir Zharkov provide solid offensive productivity with 34 and 33 points on the season respectively. Defenseman Eric Gelinas has a great scoring touch on the blue line, with 13 goals and 12 assists. Expect Gelinas to play an aggressive game and consistently pinch when in the offensive zone. Goalies Jeff Frazee and Keith Kinkaid split the start between the pipes for the Devils with 27 and 34 games played respectively. Expect both goalies to earn a start against Hershey this weekend. Although Albany does not have much offensive firepower, Hershey must play solid defense and avoid breakdowns in the defensive zone. These games against Albany are must have points for the boys in chocolate and white.