Hershey update: 3-2-2-0, 4th in the Atlantic Division. Last week: 2-0-0-0
The Hershey Bears enjoyed a successful week as the team won both of its games. With 10 goals in two games, several players had big weeks offensively. Christian Thomas had two goals, Riley Barber and Madison Bowey each had a goal and an assist, and Nathan Walker and Chandler Stephenson both had two assists.
But no one stood out more than Jakub Vrana.
Vrana scored three goals and two assists in the team’s two games. More important than how much he scored, however, is how he scored.
Check out the highlights from Hershey’s two wins:
Notice Vrana's positioning. In the first game, he joined a three-on-two rush on the far side. As the play went further down the ice, Vrana pinched further in until he was just outside the top of the crease. That put him in the perfect position to score after receiving the fantastic pass from Stephenson.
In the second game, Vrana sees Travis Boyd make a steal in the offensive zone off the forecheck and immediately heads to the front of the net. His quick reaction puts him in behind the defense allowing him to finish the play with the goal. Later in the game, Vrana sets up Paul Carey for an easy tap-in goal with a pass that looks a lot like the one Alex Ovechkin made to set up Marcus Johansson in Calgary.
That's an NHL play.
Vrana showed in the preseason that he has some things to work on before he can make the jump to the NHL. No one can deny his skill level, but he needed to become a smarter player. Vrana showed great positioning in these two games and the pass to set up Carey was sublime. He now leads the Bears in both goals (5) and points (7). In terms of his NHL development, this was a very promising week.
With all the offense, the performance of goalie Vitek Vanecek was overshadowed, but he played very well in his start Sunday. The young netminder saved 22 of the 24 shots he faced against Lehigh Valley including two incredible saves (see in the video above).
There was a scary moment for Travis Boyd on Sunday as he took a very dangerous hit from Sam Morin that sent him head first into the boards. Luckily, Boyd was unhurt and got back to his feet immediately after. Boyd tallied four assists over the week and now leads Hershey with six.
One player who did not have a big week offensively was Stanislav Galiev. Galiev did not record a shot on goal or a point in Saturday’s game and was a healthy scratch Sunday.
Scratching Vrana last week seems to have sparked him, perhaps it will have the same effect on Galiev.
Other prospect notes:
Last week, it was announced that Connor Hobbs was selected to represent Team WHL in the CIBC Canada Russia Series. Facing him will be another Caps prospect. Defenseman Dmitriy Zaitsev will play for Team Russia as announced on Wednesday.
The Canada Russia Series is an annual tournament in which Russian junior players play teams composed of players from each of the three junior leagues of the Canadian Hockey League (WHL, OHL and QMJHL).
College hockey saw the two best teams in the nation square off in a two-game series over the week as No. 1 North Dakota faced No. 2 Minnesota Duluth. Unfortunately for Capitals prospect Shane Gersich, his Fighting Hawks were on the losing end of both games. Gersich, however, played well in the first game with a goal and an assist. He now has 10 points through seven games this season.
Adam Carlson earned his first professional win on Friday, making 31 saves against Florida to lead South Carolina to the 2-1 victory. The rookie netminder struggled in his next start on Tuesday, however, allowing four goals in just 12 shots before getting pulled.
In three games with the Stingrays this season, Carlson has managed a 2.92 goals-against average with a .902 save percentage.