Marlies in Chocolate Town


John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

Both the Toronto Marlies and Hershey Bears hope to end losing streaks today, as the teams face off with a 5 p.m. match-up at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA.

After a four-game winning streak in which the Marlies scored 20 goals, the team has now lost three of its past five games. After losing to the Binghamton Senators on an American Thanksgiving day game by a score of 3-2, the team failed to rally back Saturday evening, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins. Ben Scrivens tended net in both of the losses for the Marlies, stopping 22 of 25 and 23 of 25 shots, respectively.

Tonight’s game is the third of a four-game road stand, which the Marlies will complete on Friday in Rochester.

Meanwhile, Hershey looks to break a three-game losing streak. The Bears have won three games of the ten played so farthis month, and have lost six of their last seven games. The team’s las twin came on November 17, a 4-1 win over Wilkes Barre-Scranton.

The Bears last took to the ice on Saturday, a 3-1 loss to the Adirondack Phantoms. Prior to that, they hosted the Penguins in a 4-0 loss. After tonight, the Bears close out the month by visiting Norfolk on Wednesday and hosting Bridgeport on Friday.

The two teams meet just once more this season, a 3 p.m. game at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto on February 16. The teams didn’t meet at all last season; in fact, they haven’t seen each other since February 23, 2011. That game resulted in a 3-2 victory for the Bears.

Players to watch for the Bears include defenseman Garrett Stafford, who despite being a blueliner leads the team in points (14). His 13 assists are also the most on the team. Center Jeff Taffe has five goals and eight assists in 17 games this season, while defenseman Steve Oleksy leads the Bears with a plus-4 in 15 games.

Oleksy also leads the team with 46 penalty minutes.

Centers Keith Aucoin and Nazem Kadri, along with defenseman Mike Kostka, are all tied for the team lead with 15 points each. Aucoin and Kostka have each tallied three goals and 12 assist in 17 games, while Kadri has two goals and 13 assists in 16 games.

Jake Gardiner and Ryan Hamilton lead the Marlies with five goals apiece. Another player to watch? Right wing Matt Frattin, who had four goals in three games since his return from a knee injury before going pointless Saturday against the Penguins.

Finally, defenseman Mark Fraser leads the Marlies with 75 penalty minutes in 16 games.

Faceoff is at 5 p.m., so get ready, because one of these streaks will come to an end.