The Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) begin the first of three straight road games tonight, taking on the Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets). Hershey recently completed a three games in three days stretch, finishing with two home wins against the Albany Devils and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
Springfield has gotten off to a hot start this season, standing atop of the Eastern Conference standings. The Falcons recently picked up another win, led by goalie, Curtis McElhinney. The AHL goalie of the month in October recorded 26 saves in Springfield’s 3-2 win over the Portland Pirates last Sunday. Matt Calvert, Andrew Joudrey and Ryan Johansen all lit the lamp for the Falcons in their victory over Portland.
Tonight is the 41st contest in history between these two American League squads, with Hershey holding a 20-10-10 record over Springfield. The Bears picked up a win and recorded an overtime loss against the Springfield Falcons last season. Springfield visits Giant Center for the second and final regular season match-up against Hershey on December 22nd.
Hershey’s defense-men have played a big role in recent games, with Capitals’ prospect Tomas Kundratek leading the charge. Kundratek notched a goal and three assists last weekend and currently sits 3rd in scoring for Hershey and twelfth in point production among all AHL defense-men. Bears’ defense-man, Garrett Stafford has contributed seven assists on Hershey’s blue line.
Curtis McElhinney leads the Falcons in net, posting five wins between the pipes to go with an outstanding 1.51 goals against average and a .949 save percentage. Cam Atkinson and Ryan Johansen have each contributed three goals apiece for Springfield.
Braden Holtby will likely earn the start in net for the Bears, following a shutout last time in net against the Albany Devils.