The Hershey Bears, who set off for a five game road swing, start with three games this upcoming weekend when they travel to Providence, Manchester and Bridgeport. The Bears are currently placed one point behind the Syracuse Crunch and the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in the East Division of the Eastern Conference in the American Hockey League.
2/17/12 Hershey Bears (28-14-4-4, 64 points) vs. Providence Bruins (23-22-3-3, 52 points)
Hershey is coming off a 5-1 dominant win at Giant Center against the Division rival Penguins. Providence continues a stretch at home after falling to the Albany Devils, 3-1 last Sunday. The Bruins are led offensively by right wing, Carter Camper who leads the team with 35 points on 11 goals. Providence displays some active defense man in the offensive zone; both Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky have 20 points apiece. Heralded goaltending prospect Anton Khudobin of the Boston Bruins organization receives the majority of the starts and has posted a good 2.57 goals against average thus far. Expect Braden Holtby to receive the start after a strong game against the Baby Pens. This is a game Hershey should be able to win easily as long as they stay disciplined and play a sound defensive game in front of either Braden Holtby or Dany Sabourin.
2/18/12 Hershey Bears (28-14-4-4, 64 points) vs. Manchester Monarchs (28-23-0-2, 58 points)
Manchester visited the Hershey Bears earlier this year on January 21st and 22nd at Giant Center. Hershey fell 4-5 and 2-4 to Manchester completing a winless record on the weekend after a lost to the hands of Binghamton on 3-4 on January 20th to start a three game stretch. Manchester, minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings are led in scoring by center, Marc-Andre Cliché with 16 goals and 18 assists on the season. Right wing, Brandon Kozun provides a good scoring presence as well posting 13 goals and 17 assists this season. Goalies, Martin Jones and Jeff Zatkoff split the starts with 30 and 29 games played respectively on the season. Manchester is a tough opponent, as Hershey has lost two games to the Monarchs this year already. Hershey must convert on their chances on the power play and not turn the puck over in the neutral zone to be successful Saturday night.
2/19/12 Hershey Bears (28-14-4-4, 64 points) vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (25-18-3-2, 55 points)
The Bears cap off their weekend with a Sunday matchup at 3 p.m. in Bridgeport. The Sound Tigers are led by center, Casey Cizikas with 14 goals and 29 assists on the year. Cizikas has a great defensive game, as well displaying a plus 24. Matt Donovan is a solid puck moving defense man posting six goals and 22 assists on the year. New York Islanders goalie prospect, Anders Nilsson has appeared in 18 games this year posting an 11-6-1 record with a 2.66 goals against average. Nilsson has appeared in two games with the New York Islanders. Goaltender, Kevin Poulin has posted three shutouts in 28 games along with a 2.73 goals against average. Bridgeport is a team that Hershey should handle with ease, as they have an overall better team in all facets of the game.