Hershey update: 38-19-8-3, 4th in the Atlantic Division. Last week: 1-1-0-0
The Hershey Bears split their two games over the weekend with St. John’s with a 4-3 loss on Saturday and a 2-1 win on Sunday.
Saturday’s loss came in heartbreaking fashion as the Bears gave up the game-winner with just 16 seconds remaining in regulation.
Chandler Stephenson recorded an assist in the game, but gave up an absolutely dreadful turnover for the game-tying goal. From behind his own net, he attempted a no-look back pass that went directly to a St. John’s player who passed it to the slot for the goal.
Jakub Vrana recorded two points in Sunday’s win, including the game-winning goal.
Jonas Siegenthaler made his season debut for the Bears in Sunday’s game. He was a plus-one on the day.
The real star of the weekend for Hershey was goalie Pheonix Copley who started in both games. The young netminder was particularly strong in Sunday’s win, stopping 35 of the 36 shots he faced in the win. Since returning to Hershey, Copley is now 7-2-0 with a 1.94 goals against average and a .942 save percentage.
Travis Boyd and Riley Barber each had a goal and an assist over the weekend for the Bears.
Other prospect notes:
The WHL Playoffs are underway. Lucas Johansen’s Kelowna Rockets jumped out to a 3-1 series lead and are one win away from eliminating Garrett Pilon and the Kamloops Blazers. Johansen and Pilon both have one assist in four games.
The news wasn’t all bad for Pilon, however, as the Caps signed him to a three-year, entry-level deal on Thursday. He will report to Hershey at the end of the WHL season which may come as early as Friday.
Connor Hobbs and the Regina Pats are on the verge of sweeping Beck Malenstyn and the Calgary Hitmen. Regina has outscored Calgary 15-5 in three games. Hobbs has recorded two assists in each game while Malenstyn has yet to record a point.
Dmitriy Zaitsev is locked in a tight battle as his Moose Jaw Warriors are currently locked in a 2-2 series tie with the Swift Current Broncos. He has one assist.
Both Shane Gersich and Brian Pinho saw their seasons come to an end in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
North Dakota loss to Boston University 4-3 in double overtime on Friday. Gersich registered eight shots on goal, but could not get onto the scoresheet. Providence also lost in the first round to Harvard 3-0 on Friday.
There is no word yet on their future plans or if the Capitals have tried to sign either to an entry-level deal. Gersich’s teammate, Brock Boeser, was signed Saturday by the Vancouver Canucks and scored his first goal NHL that afternoon. For any who may have dreams of Gersich or Pinho following suite for the Caps, that’s unlikely to happen.
The Capitals seem pretty set with their lines right now and, if they were to recall anyone as a backup, it would likely be Jakub Vrana or they would stick with Paul Carey. Neither Gersich nor Pinho would likely be the top choice for a Washington team hoping to win the Stanley Cup.
That doesn’t mean the team won’t be interested in signing them and sending them to Hershey, however.
Gersich will be a rising junior at North Dakota, Pinho a rising senior for Providence if they both choose to return to college.
Ilya Samsonov’s KHL team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, completed a four-game sweep of Ak Bars to advance to the Gagarin Cup Finals for the second consecutive season. They will face SKA starting April 8.
While Siegenthaler returned to Hershey, there will be no such return trip for forward Kevin Elgestal. Elgestal’s season in Sweden was limited to only 25 games after he suffered a broken thumb in January. NOVA Caps caught up with Elgestal to get an update on his progress and it sounds like he will need to continue rehabbing over the summer.
Forward Damien Riat has been selected to Switzerland’s initial team roster for the World Championships. The team will have a two-day training camp starting on April 5. This year’s tournament will be held in Germany and France from May 5 to 21.
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