Hershey update: 18-8-7-2, 4th in the Atlantic Division. Last week: 0-1-2-0
Liam O’Brien and Paul Carey were reassigned to Hershey on Tuesday. O’Brien was originally called up to the NHL on Friday as insurance as the Caps began a two-game road trip. That insurance turned out to be necessary as T.J. Oshie missed Monday’s game with an upper-body injury. O'Brien played Monday against Montreal and recorded 6:08 of ice time.
With 18 points this season in Hershey, O’Brien has already surpassed his 16-point total from last year.
Travis Boyd will be joining teammate Chris Bourque in the AHL All-Star game. This is his first selection. Boyd is the Bears’ leading scorer with 31 points this season.
The All-Star game will be held in Lehigh Valley on Jan. 29-30.
Zach Sanford scored two goals on Sunday in Hershey’s overtime loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. You can watch highlights of the game here:
One thing to notice about Sanford is that a lot of his highlights don’t involve tons of stickhandling or a dynamic individual effort. He takes a pass, he shoots, he scores. That’s not a knock on his abilities in any way. One of Sanford’s best attributes is his positioning. It’s something I have always loved about his game. Even when he doesn’t have the puck, he always knows where to go. Both of his goals reflect that. He's in a great position where all he has to do is finish the play.
On the first, he positioned himself on the far-side of the net, setting himself up for a shot in which the goalie would immediately be out of position. It was a difficult angle to make, but he was able to nail the shot. On the second, Sanford positions himself in the slot for the easy shot.
Those kinds of instincts can be hard to teach.
Riley Barber appears to be nearing his return as his status has been upgraded to week-to-week. Initial projections after the injury are that he would return sometime in January. The latest upgrade to his status seems to indicate he remains on pace.
Other prospect notes:
Ilya Samsonov helped lead Team Russia to a bronze medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship with a 38-save performance against Sweden. His performance earned him some high praise from Swedish forward Rasmus Asplund who said, “Samsonov is a great goalie. He can win matches for Russia, like he did today. We had a lot of chances, but we couldn’t convert them. He’s amazing. He’s going to be in the NHL pretty soon, I think.”
Samsonov finished the tournament with a 2.11 GAA and .930 save percentage, was named to the all-tournament team and was named the top goalie of the tournament.
Defenseman Connor Hobbs was named the third star in Regina’s 6-2 win on Fridayin the WHL. He recorded three assists in the game.
Hobbs continues to impress with both his play on both ends of the ice. He showed great stickhandling moves on his first assist as he skated through pressure in the neutral zone and carries the puck past the blue line before passing it off. What you don’t see as much of is his defensive acumen. Those skills don’t tend to translate well on highlight videos, but you do get a glimpse of it in his third assist as he sets up the rush with a good steal in the neutral zone.
The South Carolina Stingrays saw a seven-game win streak snapped on Wednesday, but it was still a good week for Tim McGauley who scored his first professional goal in Saturday’s win over Greenville.
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