Tonight marks the 80th home opener in Hershey Bears hockey history. The Bears come into this game with an 0-1 record from last Saturday’s contest against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Belleville Senators sitting at 0-3 coming into tonight have a bit of an advantage playing three games this season to the Bears one, whatever you can take away from three straight loss, they should have their game legs ready to go against a Bears team ready to get the season fully underway.
The Bears enter tonight on a three game winning streak in home openers, along with a 6-3-1-0 record over the past 10 home openers. Last year the Bears defeated the Bridgeport Soundtigers 5-2 in their home opener on Oct. 22. Go back a year earlier to 2015, veteran forward Chris Bourque provided overtime excitement as the Bears beat his former team Hartford, 3-2. The team was five games into the new season, but began the club’s 77th home schedule with a matchup against the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in which the Bears won that game 4-1 in front of a packed Giant Center.
Former Bears Erik Burgdoerfer and Jim O’Brien are both set to play tonight for Belleville.
The REFEREES for tonight’s matchup: Chris Waterstradt (88), Keith Kaval (40)
Veteran Defenseman Matt Niskanen, who was injured Friday night against the New Jersey Devils has been placed on Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR). With the injury the Washington Capitals have recalled defenseman Madison Bowey from the Hershey Bears. Bowey a former second round pick of the Capitals in 2013, has spent the past two seasons with the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League. Last season he had 14 points in 34 games, however his season was cut short by an ankle injury.