The Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) take on the Connecticut Whale (New York Rangers) tonight, in their first game of a three games in three days stretch, concluding with two home games on Saturday and Sunday at Giant Center. Connecticut holds a 14-16-2 all-time record against the Bears. The two teams recently played last April, in Hershey’s regular season home finale, with Connecticut walking away with a 1-0 victory over the Bears.
Connecticut recently defeated the Albany Devils 5-2 Wednesday night, notching five unanswered goals for the win. The Bears last lost in overtime to the Binghamton Senators, falling with 6.5 seconds remaining in the extra period. Capitals’ goalie prospect, Philipp Grubauer was sharp in goal during his first eve AHL (American Hockey League) start.
The Bears will face off against former Hershey defense-man, Sean Collins, who played in 255 games for the chocolate and white, helping the Bears to two Calder Cups during his time with the team. Bears’ co-coach Adam Oates will coach against Connecticut Whale forward Ryan Bourque, the son of NHL hall of famer Ray Bourque. Ryan Bourque is also the brother of former Bears forward and current Providence Bruins forward, Chris Bourque.
Connecticut is anchored offensively by last year’s NHL playoff sensation, Chris Kreider, who leads the Whale with 23 penalty minutes. Hershey is led by veteran AHL forward, Jeff Taffe, who currently leads the team with seven points on the young season.
Dany Sabourin is the expected starter in goal for the Bears, who also have net-minders Philipp Grubauer and Braden Holtby on their roster.