Another Comeback; Sharks Up Next – 12/20

HB12_0011Good morning Bears Nation!

Nearly two days removed from a thrilling 4-3 shootout victory over the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday night – in front of a season-high crowd of 10,801 – I’m sitting here pondering three really good things that have the pot of recent success set to boil over.

1) The play of Ryan Stoa.  This player may not be running up the points – heck, he hasn’t even gotten on the score sheet in four of the December games played to date – but by a LONG shot, he has been playing the best hockey since he has been wearing a Hershey sweater.

He is getting the puck deep.  He protects it so well in the corners and along the boards.  He is making plays happen in the offensive zone.  He is smart.

Oh, and not to mention, he is 5-for-5 and leading the AHL in shootout goals.  (That’s just a bonus.)

Stoa needed to be better this year, and he is now playing with a no-panic look to his game.  Having Brandon Segal and Nicolas Deschamps (or Josh Brittain, or Nathan Walker) as linemates hasn’t hurt either.  Speaking of which:

2) The play of Brandon Segal.  There was no doubt in my mind that once coach Haviland stopped scratching Segal as the veteran, he would produce.


He is playing with an edge to his game, he is jumping up on plays, and in the last three games, he has produced two goals, four assists and a plus-five rating.

His two goals?  Timely.  One was a game-winner (Saturday vs. Binghamton) and one was a game-saver (tied the score with 3:02 left against Syracuse on Wednesday).

And his three-point effort for third-star (??????) honors on Wednesday (I’ll do it again: ????? … I STILL can’t figure that one out) have vaulted him to the top of the Bears scoring lead.

3) The play of Nicolas Deschamps.  Finding this player’s proper linemates has been like my mom finding just the right amount of Bacardi for her Christmas rum cake.  Once it’s there…….WOW.  Segal and Stoa have been just what Deschamps needed.  He is now tied for second on the Bears in goals (six).  And he is now my early-season prediction as the first Bears player to score 20 goals.

Can you imagine if the team took the three things that HAVEN’T been as good as they could be, and upped the production on all?  If these happen through the weekend – and in the final three games of 2012, December 26-28 – Christmas will come early for a lot of Bears fans, and the pot of points will finally pile up and boil over.

1) Get a big goal from last year’s MVP.  Jeff Taffe is due.  LONG overdue.  He hasn’t been able to buy a goal since a power-play strike on December 1 vs. Providence.  I was out of my seat when he got the puck behind the Syracuse defense with time winding down in Wednesday’s first period and with the Bears trailing 2-1.  I was also out of my seat when he was set up from behind the net for a point-blank chance that the lunging blocker of Kristers Gudlevskis swatted aside.

Taffe is due.  And he’s due on the power play.  And it will happen at least once this weekend.

Speaking of that?

2) Get at least three power play goals this weekend.  The Sharks have allowed the fourth-fewest power play goals on the road (eight) in 2013-2014.  It will be a good test to watch the Bears finally get their man-advantage mojo going.

3) Don’t give the puck away – in ANY zone.  I can remember one goal on Wednesday against Syracuse (the first of Evan Rankin’s three), one on Saturday against Binghamton (Mark Stone’s shorthanded breakaway), one on Friday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Tom Kostopoulos’ second of the game)…. it’s a chain that needs to be broken.

4) Get production from other lines.  32-27-26 can’t – and shouldn’t – be doing it all.

5) Win the “home for the holidays” games.  The Bears are off to a good start.  Beginning with last Saturday, the team plays eight of ten games at GIANT Center, and are 2-0-0-0 in them.  Worcester is right behind Hershey in the conference standings, while Binghamton (12/26), Syracuse (12/27) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (12/28) – well, we all know where they stand.  But their comfortable leads in the division are starting to shrink, and the Bears know it.

Joel Rechlicz bobblefist figurines (courtesy UGI) for the first 5,000 fans tomorrow, and Labatt Blue pint glasses for the first 3,000 on Sunday.  Bears…. Sharks…. it should be a great time.

Hope to see you here.



Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey

Defending Conference Champs Visit – 12/18

JustSports Photography

Bears celebrate a second-period goal against Binghamton in Saturday’s 7-4 win. Photo courtesy JustSports Photography.

Good morning everyone!

Once again this blog seems to have been hit by some kind of bug that hasn’t allowed me to access it.  Apparently I also can’t revert back to an old password, either.

Frustrating… to say the least… having to keep a saved sheet of passwords now.  I used to have a great memory.  But now, phone voice mail; WordPress; Facebook; Twitter; Bitly; AHL stats; and my very-own PC and laptop ALL require CHANGES to passwords.

Anyone else have this issue???  It’s enough to give me road rage.

But now I’m okay again.  It’s time to get to the topic at hand – the Hershey Bears hosting the defending Eastern Conference champion Syracuse Crunch on Hersheypark Pass Night at GIANT Center.

A big crowd on a Wednesday; two teams separated by just two points in the division; one team that has been reeling lately, and another trying to stop alternating wins and losses.  It all sets up for what should be a great matchup.

The two teams played completely different games in their last respective contests on Saturday.  For the Bears: 11 combined goals, 78 combined shots on goal, 142 combined penalty minutes, 14 combined power plays, three third-period ejections, an NHL goaltender returning to Hershey for conditioning, a fight four seconds into the game, and a snow-forced attendance shortage.

Result?  Bears 7, Binghamton Senators 4.

For the Crunch: 1 combined goal, 54 combined shots on goal, eight combined power plays, 18 combined penalty minutes.

Result? Crunch 1, Rochester Americans 0.

Maybe the Amerks had a Frozen Frontier hangover… after watching the Lake Erie Monsters tie that outdoor contest with a fraction of a second left in regulation, and then going on to win in a shootout.  Maybe Syracuse just played solid defensive hockey and got strong goaltending.  Maybe Rochester was really good on their penalty kill, being outchanced on power plays seven to one.

Maybe it was a combination of all three.

Crunch rookie netminder Kristers Gudlevskis posted his second clean sheet of the season in a 27-save performance.  Rochester was really good on the penalty kill, wiping out all seven Syracuse chances.  Syracuse kept Rochester at bay defensively.  And the Amerks certainly had to be riding a high of playing in one of the AHL’s two spotlight games of 2013-14.

But said another way, Syracuse’s power play hasn’t been working.  This is something that tonight, in my opinion, will be the key factor in determining the outcome of this game for the Bears.   Hershey is playing MUCH better than their opponents when there is 5×5 play – there is no question about it.  The Bears, despite getting two power play strikes on Saturday, had NINE total man advantages in the game.  The good guys’ power play needs to get better.

But… the Hershey penalty kill has dropped from a high of 6th in the AHL to a new low of 18th, after allowing nine power play goals over the last four games.  That could be just the remedy a team like Syracuse needs.

This is not the same Eastern Conference championship team, either – but, Rob Zettler, Trent Cull and Stacy Roest still have this team ready to go and it is still a dangerous team to underestimate.  The club is still led by feisty veteran center Mike Angelidis, who can turn around the complexion of the game with either his physical play or a key goal.  Dangerous forward Brett Connolly, who was a power-play specialist last season, is ready to turn the Crunch’s struggle on the power play around.  And on any night, any one of the three Syracuse  goaltenders could steal a game when needed.

Links on the current-and-former-player front- although not expected to be here tonight – Syracuse landed former Bears winger Jon DiSalvatore this week, after DiSalvatore returned from a short stint in Europe.

Forward Jamie Johnson was released from his Hershey contract, and will return to Dynamo Riga, the team for which he played prior to coming to Chocolatetown.

Congrats to Caps prospect Connor Carrick, who joined Team USA for the 2014 World Juniors.

Nate Schmidt, who scored the Bears’ first goal of this season in his only game – and who tallied his first AHL point in his first AHL game, against Syracuse – is back.

Derek (Huff?) Whitmore celebrated his 29th birthday yesterday.

And here is tonight’s game preview.

Enjoy the game… and GO BEARS!!!


Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey

East Division Doubleheader Weekend 11/23

Hershey Bears Hockey

Casey Wellman celebrates his power play goal against Binghamton on November 10. Photo courtesy JustSports Photography.

Good morning everyone!

Tonight, your Hershey Bears begin a season-long five-game homestand… and it begins in a rather unique way.

Rarely do the Bears see East Division opponents on back-to-back nights in the same venue.  But, due to a glitch appearing on the schedule when it was originally released back in August, one date this weekend required the swapping of two opponents: Norfolk and Binghamton.

Thus, the Bears saw Norfolk on consecutive Sundays, and will now see Binghamton on consecutive dates – actually, THREE consecutive home dates, counting November 10.

That switch in opponents really makes these games necessary wins for Hershey.  The Bears still have the fewest number of games played in the American Hockey League (14), but watching opponents like Binghamton move up the standings chart – a team whom the Bears have owned in recent history – doesn’t do anything to move the Bears any higher.

Hershey sits in last place in the division, six points behind the Syracuse Crunch (who held the top spot in the East Division not too long ago).  Only four points separate the top four teams.  Two wins this weekend would do wonders for the Chocolate and White, in more ways than one.  Why?

1) The Sens have won their past four games against Hershey.  Like Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Binghamton is becoming a really difficult team to play.

2) The Bears have just two wins in their last 10 against the Senators.

3) There has only been one win by the Bears on Giant Center ice since the 2011-12 season (February 9, 2013 – a 4-3 decision).

4) The Bears have won 10 Saturday games since the 2011-12 season (10-20-1-2 in the past 33 Saturdays).  With the majority of Saturdays being played along Hersheypark Drive, it’s time for the Bears to return to the winning ways for which they are known.

This weekend will be a big challenge, but it is one for which the Bears are well-prepared.  The team is confident, coming off of a North Carolina trip that saw the team pack an extra 13 goals into their offense suitcase.  The trip featured a four-goal, one-assist performance from Casey Wellman (including a November 14 hat trick), and multiple-goal games from Peter LeBlanc and Nathan Walker in the November 14, 8-1 rout of the Checkers.

And, personnel additions will happen now, as opposed to injury subtractions.  Defenseman Julien Brouillette, who has only played in four games this season – mostly due to injury but earlier due to the plethora of blueliners on the roster – is likely to get into the lineup this weekend.  Brouillette is one of the quietest yet hardest-working, steady defensemen of the past three seasons and it will be a huge plus getting him back.  Chay Genoway, who missed last week’s road trip due to illness, is also healthy again and ready to go at coach Haviland’s call.

Defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who has racked up the recent travel miles in between Hershey and Washington D.C. – but still has yet to be inserted into the Capitals lineup – is also back in Chocolatetown, available to try to add to his Hershey-defense-leading eight points (2-6-8) in eight games.

Finally, probably the biggest plus will be getting captain Dane Byers back into the fold.  Byers and his wife Ashley welcomed their first child, Boston Carter, into the world while the team was in between the games against Charlotte and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last week.  He has been a true physical presence for the Bears, especially when the Chris Wideman/John Mitchell-induced melee broke out the last time the Bears and Senators played.  Not to mention, he is on a six-game point streak.

Brandon Segal (four game points, 1-3-4) and Derek Whitmore (three game points, 1-2-3) also enter tonight’s game on a string of offense.

It should be a fun weekend of a hard divisional battle.  Hope to see you at the GC!



Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey

An Admiral-ble Weekend; Bears – Tigers Tonight 11/9


Garrett Mitchell celebrates his overtime winner against Bridgeport on March 16 with Chay Genoway. Photo courtesy JustSports Photography.

Good morning fans!

Recently, it seems as though every next-opponent that the Bears face has previously played another East Division rival.  The Norfolk Admirals – league leaders in shootouts played – came to GIANT Center on Sunday and handed the Bears a 4-3 setback that had to be decided in more than 65 minutes of play.

The night before that game, Norfolk visited the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, but fell in a shootout – by the same 4-3 score.

Norfolk completed a successful six-game road trip in the process, winning both weekends’ worth of three-in-three’s.

Tonight, the Bears and Sound Tigers will face off for the first time this season, and – with both teams coming off of games against the overtime-working Admirals – it will be a good test to see how things match up.

First of all – as many of the recent rosters that the New York Islanders put in place in Bridgeport have shown – the Sound Tigers are built on youth and speed.  Goaltenders Kenny Reiter and Anders Nilsson have split duties for the early portion of the season, and it took a while for either of them to get things going out of the gate.  The Sound Tigers that skated in front of their netminders managed only seven goals in the team’s first four games.  But recently – helped largely by a seven-spot posted last Friday at Worcester – Bridgeport has found its scoring touch.

That will prove to be the biggest challenge facing Hershey.  Having once again had no test of a mid-week game to keep a rhythm going, the Bears will have to be sharp from the drop of the puck through three periods.  And for those who have attended the past games, the Bears are starting to put things together.  No, none of us like to see a second period like the team played against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last Saturday, nor does anyone like the way Sunday’s game started.  But when faced with adversity – or urgency – this Bears team does have what it takes to respond.

The real cure for what has ailed the team will be to eliminate said adversity altogether.

That could come in this game tonight – for two reasons.  One, forward Josh Brittain is healthy again and could very well be in uniform.  He is a big guy, a hard-worker, and one that will go to the net to make plays happen.  We saw that last year when he skated for Trent Yawney, Mike Haviland and the Norfolk Admirals.  Should he play, that gives the Bears a huge advantage on left wing in terms of pure size.

I would expect a different result altogether – in a very positive way – for the Bears tonight. Here is the game preview to get you started.  You’ll note a former Bears defenseman is on the Bridgeport roster – all 6-foot-8 of 2005, 27th-overall pick Joe Finley is back.  But the thing you will notice most is the speed and scoring ability of Bridgeport’s top four on offense in Mike Halmo, Anders Lee, Johan Sundstrom and rookie center Ryan Strome.

Or maybe you won’t – if the Bears have something to say about it.

Puck drops at 7:00, pre-game hits the airwaves at 6:20.



Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey

Tale of Two Periods; Norfolk On Deck 11/3

Hershey Bears HockeyGood afternoon Bears Nation!

Yep… definitely a somber feeling around the office today… and it’s not only because I feel like I have no friends, being here by myself from 7:30 AM until a little past 12:30 PM.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a more difficult time making a period sound upbeat than in last night’s second stanza against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  It was tough to do.  But my thanks go right to David Leggio for his unreal – absolutely unreal – performance in the period.  Half of the saves he made on the night were in that barrage.

So what happened between the first period – when the Bears were dominating in all aspects except shots on goal (they were down 12-7 after 20:00) – and the second?

I’m completely at a loss.  But I will comment on two things:

1) The Bears somehow have to find a way to eliminate stick fouls.  Coach Haviland said it best when he described them as “lazy”.  I’m not sure how much weight one can put on the extensive penalty kill ice-time as a reason for the slide, but it makes sense that if your penalty killers are out for a long time, their even-strength linemates will have to move about.  And that translates into inconsistency.  1+1=2.  Expect that to improve, and improve fast.

2) Chay Genoway – or some other Bears player that was standing in front – was undoubtedly denied a goal last night.  Remember the puck that was fired from the high slot, disappeared near the right post without a sound, and came back out away from Jeff Deslauriers in the second period?  And then was reviewed but disallowed?  It was on edge and went into the very beginning of the white portion of the bottom of the net.  There were players on both sides who even stopped because of the expected goal.  Now, was that the game-changer?  It certainly would have helped, but there are far more pressing things to remedy than worrying about confirming a goal.

Anyway, the game is over.  Tonight is a rematch with old friend Dave Steckel and the Norfolk Admirals.  It’s another three-in-three for the Ads, and another one in which they are seeking a perfect weekend.  The Bears put the stop to that last Sunday, and will look to enter the new week on an upswing.

Dmitry Orlov was returned from D.C. today and will be back in the lineup.  He is the Bears’ leading scorer with six points (1-5-6) through four games played.

Dane Byers (2-1-3) and Nathan Walker (1-2-3) have points in three straight heading into tonight.

Lineups, scratches, and game action is on Twitter @ScottStuccio and @TheHersheyBears.

It’s HERSHEYPARK Pass Night so it should be a great crowd.  I’m sure we’ll all have a lot to cheer for tonight!



Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey

Penguins Win Testy Game; Rematch Tonight 11/2

Prim_FulClrGood morning Bears Nation!

Taking a look at the video highlights of last night’s game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton led a lot of us on the front of the bus to several conclusions.

For me, these are the conclusions I made:

1) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, no matter what amount of talented, skilled or even ECHL-destined players is on the team roster, is probably the hardest-working team out there.  They are fast.  They skate.  They look for mistakes.  They play with a purpose. 

2) You need at least a four-goal cushion heading into the third period against the Penguins.  The team has now outscored their opponent 18-4 in third periods after last night.

3) Dane Byers’ hit on Simon Despres is going to be tough to judge with the lone camera angle given to everyone.  Some buildings don’t have the capability like the GC does to have two or three slash-cameras spread about.  The angle I saw was from the back of Byers’ jersey going forward.  It was definitely a huge hit, and the fact that Despres’ helmet flew off leads me to believe that motion was directed at the very least at his shoulders…and probably a bit higher.  A 5-minute charging major and game misconduct will certainly be looked at.

4) There were two other notable hits/events in the game that went undetected, if – and only if – one wants to make comparisons.  Penguins forward Andrew Ebbett’s hit on Connor Carrick early in the game is one.  Although he was penalized, the hit was directed just as high as the hit on Despres.  Video does not lie, fans.  The second event occurred immediately after the Byers hit on Despres and the resulting confrontation between the remaining players on the ice.  Forward Brian Gibbons hauls down defenseman Tyson Strachan with a blatant slew-foot move.  Once again, video does not lie.  Check out both the Byers hit and the aftermath here, about :20 in.

5) It should be a fun rematch tonight at the GC!  Expect a few changes to the lineup once again, as some players have worked their way in with solid play lately.  There will definitely be a lineup change if there are repercussions from the Byers hit in last night’s game.  That would be too bad, because the Bears captain has been the best player in the past few games.  He has scored in back-to-back contests and has posted a plus-5 rating in the last three games.

Here is a link to the game sheet from last night.

Due to an outage around the company which is preventing me from accessing my personal drive – and thus the file I need to write today’s game notes – there will be no full-blown game preview on  Tickets are available for tonight, which is a Dietz & Watson Dollar Dog Night… hope to see you here!



Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey

“Roaring on the Road” to the W-B 11/1

Hershey Bears Hockey

Dane Byers and his teammates celebrate a second-period goal in Sunday’s game vs. Norfolk. Photo courtesy JustSports Photography.

Good morning fans!

First of all, let’s get you primed up for a busy weekend of hockey as the Bears get set for their short trip to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tonight:


Ready yet??

So November is upon us – and that means a heaping helping of Hershey Bears hockey is on the menu.  After just six – yes, six – games spanning the first four weeks of the season, tonight will be the first of 12 that the Bears will play in the next 29 days.  That’s an average of one game every 2.5 days.  So it’s safe to say that the times of having six days in between games are over!

Does that bode well for the Chocolate and White?  Absolutely.  Every player to whom I’ve spoken attributes the hit-and-miss October to the slow start out of the gate.  The best players in the world can only practice so much, and can only get so much out of such a stuttering rhythm.  Forward Jamie Johnson and I sat down this morning to discuss just that, and to talk about the upcoming busy month – which starts with what he referred to as a “statement weekend.”  That interview will play in tonight’s first intermission from Wilkes-Barre Township.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton started the season very impressively, getting points in their first seven games.  But, the team has dropped two straight – a shootout loss at Binghamton last Friday and their first regulation loss of the season at the hands of the Norfolk Admirals on Saturday.  The team is mad, and wants the top spot in the AHL – which they held just over a week ago – back in their possession.

For the Bears, it is a chance at an eight-point swing.  The home-and-home starts tonight in the building that saw the Penguins claim a 3-1 home-opener victory on October 12.  The two teams meet for the first time this season at GIANT Center tomorrow.  If anything, a win tonight will boost the confidence of a squad that should be confident – the team won two of their past three games and scored 11 goals in that span.  The Bears have the best road penalty kill (17/18, 94/4%) in the AHL.  And, as head coach Mike Haviland alluded to in this morning’s interview with me, “I really like the way we’ve played.  In the past three games, we outchanced all of the teams.  I like the way we’ve played, and I really liked the week we had at practice.”  Coming from a blatantly honest coach, fans should be excited for the start of this month.

I firmly believe we’ll see the true Bears team that was assembled come shining starting tonight.

Goaltending matchups, scratches, starters and in-game updates can be found @ScottStuccio on Twitter.  @TheHersheyBears will also have goal and period updates.

Pre-game hits the air at 6:25, followed by a 7:05 PM puck drop.

Be sure to keep checking here all season long and at for the latest on the most storied franchise in the AHL.  And, be sure to keep tuned for information on how you can help support a great cause as the Bears take part in “Movember” once again – a movement that brings awareness to men’s health.



Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey

Schmidt Up, Roaring on the Road 10/12

Hershey Bears Hockey

Nate Schmidt takes the ice on home-opening night, 10/5/13. Photo courtesy JustSports Photography.

Good morning Bears Nation!

Hopefully you’ve all had a chance to unwind after all of those exciting games over the past week.

Okay… unless you’ve been tuned in to AHL Live and catching all the OTHER teams playing since the AHL’s first week, there hasn’t been much to unwind from!  On a very light start to the calendar, the Bears are getting set to play only their second game of the season tonight.  But, it is a big one.  It is the first bus trip of 2013, to play the first of 12 against the Bears’ arch-rivals from up Interstate 81. 

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are in the same boat, believe it or not.  The Pens have played just one game this season as well.  Trouble is, theirs went a lot better than Hershey’s did.  The Pens put up a 5-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers last Saturday, and have been doing the same thing that the Bears have been doing – practicing, practicing, practicing.

During the team’s “down time” between games, I decided to start something new for our road trips this season.  We’re calling it “Roaring on the Road”.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but due to staffing issues, I wasn’t able to get it exactly where I wanted it.  Now, thanks to the super guys down in the “cellar” in Great Save Productions, we are able to bring you road game-day updates throughout the season.

This inaugural edition features a quick look back at last Saturday’s opener, a recap of the WBS-Bridgeport tilt, an interview with defenseman Nate Schmidt about playing on the road, and broadcast information for tonight. 

I have to close this with a disclaimer – one in which I hope our players will grab and read.  For my last six interviews – and this dates back to last season – the player either scored a goal or was called up to Washington. 

Immediately after this segment was produced, Schmidt earned his first recall to the NHL. 

So, it’s time to start planning on my interviews for the big trip to St. John’s next week…….!

Air time is 6:25 tonight on the Bears Radio Network presented by Turkey Hill Minit Markets, with “Scho-Daddy” Frank Schofield joining me on the headset.  The puck should drop around 7:15 tonight, after Wilkes-Barre/Scranton amps up their crowd with a pre-game ceremony honoring the start of their 15th season in the American Hockey League.

Click here to get your day started with “Roaring on the Road”, and we’ll talk to you tonight from the Casino (Mohegan Sun Arena)!



Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey

Rechlicz Clears; 30 Players Heading Into Saturday 9/30


He’s back.

The Recker has cleared NHL waivers at noon today and is once again Chocolatetown-bound.  Actually, he’s already here.  It’s just a formality of waiting until that deadline to see if another team claimed him.

This is going to make MANY people happy… yet another reason to get your tickets in hand for Saturday’s season opener against the Adirondack Phantoms.  Remember who had 10,000+ in the stands last year for a season average, and over 9,800+ in the GC stands not counting the Outdoor Classic.  That’s impressive.  Let’s do that on opening night.  The guys showed in pre-season how they are not going to be intimidated or not play 100% in this house. 

It’s time to Defend the Den.

Here is your current 30-man roster after today’s cut of 10 players (9 to Reading, 1 to Bakersfield).

GOALTENDERS (2):  Philipp Grubauer, David Leggio

DEFENSEMEN (11): Julien Brouillette, Michal Cajkovsky, Chay Genoway, David Kolomatis, Tomas Kundratek, Dmitry Orlov, Cameron Schilling, Nate Schmidt, Tyson Strachan, Patrick Wellar, Patrick Wey

FORWARDS (17): Josh Brittain, Dane Byers, Nicolas Deschamps, Stanislav Galiev, Jamie Johnson, Peter LeBlanc, Garrett Mitchell, John Mitchell, Joel Rechlicz, Tyler Ruegsegger, Brandon Segal, Ryan Stoa, Jeff Taffe, Nathan Walker, Matt Watkins, Casey Wellman, Derek Whitmore


Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey

Pre-Season Wrap-Up, Roster Update 9/30

Prim_FulClrGood morning Bears Nation!

Not a bad pre-season showing from the Chocolate and White, wouldn’t you say?  Outscoring the opposition 13-3 collectively, allowing just one power play goal, having five players post three points or more, and not having one goaltender allow more than one goal: that pretty much sums up the exhibition schedule.

One observation: our coaches are going to be fantastic for the type of team that will take to the ice beginning this Saturday.  And I LOVE the way head coach Mike Haviland managed the roster as the weekend progressed.  He wanted to make sure our fans got a glimpse of as large a portion of our “opening night roster” as possible, by dressing such a team on home ice both Friday and Saturday.  He originally said that he wanted to give our fans a reason to cheer again at home, knowing that the record at GIANT Center last season was not one about which to be proud.  President/GM Doug Yingst addressed that notion when he introduced Haviland at his press conference back in June.  And so far, all of the players in camp have bought in.  That’s a great sign.

One more observation: assistant coach Ryan Mougenel is going to have quite the defense corps to manage as time passes, especially with Tyson Strachan having cleared waivers just days after Tomas Kundratek did.  Dmitry Orlov is here now too.  That makes it very difficult to define a “top six”.  The Bears have 11 defensemen on their current roster, who could very easily make up a second very good team..

As it stands, the Bears have 29 players, with the opening night roster due in to the AHL offices on Thursday, October 3.  With all the competing going on, and with Reading opening camp this weekend, there may not be much more movement before Saturday’s season opener.  The Bears will have 30 if Joel Rechlicz clears waivers at noon today.

Dane Byers, who is a strong candidate for the Bears’ captaincy this season, stopped by the offices this morning and is about as excited to get going as any veteran I’ve ever seen – all smiles and thrilled to be playing more steadily.  He was a lower-role player in Oklahoma City last season prior to his acquisition for defenseman Garrett Stafford, due to the crop of talent playing in the Sooner State during the NHL lockout.  It’s just awesome to see players with that attitude before the season starts. 

And he wasn’t the only one.

T-minus six days until opening night.  Got your tickets???



Posted in Hershey Bears Hockey