2/4/12 Hershey Bears (25-12-4-3, 57 points) vs. Connecticut Whale (19-16-4-5, 47 points)
The Hershey Bears welcome the Connecticut Whale to town Saturday night at the Giant Center. The Whale, the minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League’s eastern-conference-leading New York Rangers, are led on offense by center Kris Newbury, who has compiled 40 points which includes 16 goals, in only 34 games this year.
Connecticut has had to deal with a host of roster changes this year, with players transferring between the Rangers’ and Whale’s line-up constantly. Sean Avery has been a recent distraction for Connecticut after being demoted by the Rangers and not being claimed by any National Hockey League team off waivers. Meantime, Chad Johnson and Cameron Talbot have split the starts in goal with 27 and 22 games played respectively.
The Bears will be without Keith Aucoin who was recently recalled by the Washington Capitals. New members of the Bears, Kevin Marshall and Mike Carman will get their first chance to play in front of their home crowd in Chocolate town. Expect Danny Sabourin to get the start as Braden Holtby started Friday night in Wilkes-Barre, and the Bears play the third game of a triple-header on Sunday at the Giant Center.
2/5/12 Hershey Bears (25-12-4-3, 57 points) vs. Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (26-13-2-4, 58 points)
This will be the second time in three days the Bears play the Penguins, after a matchup Friday night in Wilkes-Barre. These rivals often produce great high-intensity games with a lot of after the whistle altercations. The Penguins are led on offense by forwards Bryan Lerg and Ben Street with 34 and 33 points respectively. Wilkes-Barre had had many call ups to the Pittsburgh Penguins including Simon Despres. Goaltender Brad Thiessen has received the majority of the starts between the pipes, posting a subpar 2.90 goals against average along with 17 wins.