Hershey update: 7-4-2-1, 4th in the Atlantic Division. Last week: 1-2-0-1
Hershey had a tough week losing three out of four games to snap a five-game winning streak.
It was another good week offensively for Jakub Vrana who notched two goals and an assist. He currently leads the Bears in goals with seven. Travis Boyd also had an impressive week with two goals and an assist. Boyd has very quietly been racking up the points this season and now ranks third on the team with 11. When contemplating who could get a call-up at some point this season, don’t count him out.
Chandler Stephenson notched his first goal of the season and Nathan Walkers scored twice on Wednesday to lead the Bears to their only win over the week.
In net, Vitek Vanecek did everything he could in his two starts to keep Hershey in it especially in Sunday’s game against Lehigh Valley. Vanecek turned aside 28 of the 31 shots including two breakaways in the first period.
Check out the highlights from the game:
Vanecek is often overshadowed by the young Ilya Samsonov who the Caps drafted in the first round in 2015 (more on him later), but he has been a pleasant surprise this season in his first season in Hershey. In six games, he has a 2.35 goals-against average (GAA) and a .920 save percentage. Those are good numbers.
Obviously, Vancecek still has things to work on as you can see based on the highlights. That long range shot he lets in from the boards is just plain bad. He also seems to really struggle with traffic in front of the net and tracking the puck. Teams are going to screen you, good goaltenders need to track the puck and battle through screens.
But at 20 years old, Vanceck is still very much developing and he has exceeded expectations thus far with his overall body of work in Hershey.
Other prospect notes:
Samsonov still does not have a regulation loss this season in the KHL with a 7-0-3 record, 2.36 GAA and .919 save percentage. The KHL is the second best hockey league in the world and Samsonov has no looked out of place at all there despite being just 19 years old. As the Caps spent a first-round pick on him, he is expected to be this team’s future in net and given what he has done in the KHL, he appears to be right on track.
In another goalie update, Adam Carlson is playing well in the ECHL for South Carolina. When starter Parker Milner was dealing with skate issues on Thursday, Carlson stepped in stop all 15 shots he faced in the Stingrays’ 5-1 win. Carlson was handed a loss on Saturday, but played well with 28 saves on 30 shots.
Check out the highlights here:
In his first professional season, Carlson has a 2.29 GAA and .923 save percentage. Not bad for a guy with only one year of college hockey under his belt.
Shane Gersich put on an absolute show this week for North Dakota. On Friday, he gave the Fighting Hawks the win over Denver on Friday with a beautiful spin move to score in overtime. On Saturday, Gersich dazzled again scoring both of his team's two goals.You can watch the highlights of Gersich’s two goals here:
Gersich is really coming into his own this season with six goals and eight assists in 11 games and he’s getting those points in different ways. On Friday, you saw the skill, on Saturday you saw the grit with Gersich fighting in front of the net for both of those goals.
Another player to get excited about is defenseman Connor Hobbs. Check out his two-goal performance from Sunday’s game:
Hobbs tallied three goals and three assists in three games for Regina of the WHL last week. While it’s important to keep in mind the level of competition when evaluating the offensive numbers (defense tends to be optional in junior leagues), you can see from the highlights that Hobbs has good instincts and one heck of a one-timer. See if you can spot where the puck ends up after that second goal. That just shows you the kind of power he had on that shot.