The Hershey Bears get another crack at the Albany River Rats tonight in Albany. Last Friday in the same building Rats goalie Justin Peters stonewalled the Bears as the Rats won 3-1 on his 39 saves.
But unfortunately for Peters and the rest of the Rats the Bears got a lot stronger this week. Saturday night the Bears welcomed Chris Bourque back to Hershey and he responded with 3 goals and 2 assists in the next two games. Earlier this week Karl Alzner, arguably the best defenseman on the team, returned from Washington, and then yesterday the Capitals reassigned Alexander Giroux to Hershey.
None of those 3 were with the team last Friday night in Albany but all three will be there tonight.
Unfortunately (for Albany) the roster turnover for the Rats went the opposite direction. This week the Carolina Hurricanes recalled defensemen Jay Harrison and Brett Carson as well as forwards Jiri Tlusty and Pat Dwyer. All but Tlusty played against the Bears last Friday night and accounted for 1 goal and 3 assists on the night.
Not that the Rats will be any easier to beat but losing those 4 sure doesn't hurt the Bears chances. And with the addition of Giroux, who hasn't played for the Bears since the night before Thanksgiving, the Bears roster is as loaded as it has been all season.
record ~ 17-7-0-2 36 points
standings ~ 1st in East Division
most recent game ~ 9-2 Win vs Hartford, 12/6
last 5 games ~ 3-1-0-1
road record ~ 9-4-0-0
goals for ~ 97
goals against ~59
power play ~ 17.2% (11th)
penalty kill ~ 93.6% (1st)
Albany River Rats
record ~ 14-10-1-2 31 points
standings ~ 2nd in East Division
most recent game ~ 4-1 Win vs Wilkes Barre, 12/6
last 5 games ~ 4-0-1-0
home record ~ 11-4-0-1
goals for ~ 75
goals against ~ 72
power play ~ 10.9% (28th)
penalty kill ~ 83.0% (18th)
last time teams met - Albany won 3-1 in Albany last Friday.
Players to watch:
LW Chris Bourque (17)- After spending the first couple months of the season in Pittsburgh with the Penguins he returned to Hershey last Saturday night and scored 3 goals and 2 assists in his two games last weekend.
LW Alexander Giroux (12) - Hasn't played in Hershey since before Thanksgiving but he was on a roll before heading to Washington. 3 goals and 7 assists in the 6 games before the call up.
RW Andrew Gordon (10) - Leading the team in goals (14) and points (30) he has been extremely hot as of late. He has scored in 6 of his last 8 and in those 8 games he has 7 goals and 5 assists.
C Rob Hennigar (19) - Has only been playing for the Rats since Thanksgiving but in those 6 games he has 5 assists.
LW Jacob Micflikier (18) - Hasn't played too many games this season (8) but 4 of them have come in the past 2 weeks and he has 3 goals and an assist in those games.
C Stefan Chaput (15) - Tied for second on the team in points with 18 he has points in 4 straight games with 1 goal and 5 assists in those contests.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!