The Hershey Bears have won 16 of their first 28 games. Now they will dominate even more in style.
Over the last week, both of Hershey’s goaltenders, Vitek Vanecek — the AHL’s reigning player of the week — and Joe Cannata, have debuted new masks designed by Swedish airbrusher and non-sensical English worder, David Gunnarsson.
Let’s take a look at the new buckets, which are designed in a similar style.
We have some good news to report from the farm. Vitek “V” Vanecek has been named the AHL’s Player of the Week for the period ending on December 18. This follows four league honors Vanecek earned last season in the ECHL including Goaltender of the Week, Rookie of the Month, Goaltender of the Month, and at the end of the season, ECHL All-Rookie Team honors.
Vanecek posted his third career shutout Sunday. He also had a .964 save percentage last week, stopping 53 of 55 shots in his two starts and posting a 1-0-1 record with a 0.96 goals against average. Not bad.
Sunday night, the Hershey Bears topped their divisional foe, the Springfield Thunderbirds, 4-0 in front of a sold out crowd at the Giant Center.
The Bears were given the lead by Paul Carey, extending his personal point streak to 18 games and the team never looked back from there. Goals from defenseman Darren Dietz, Zach Sill and Chris Bourque sealed the win as the Bears outshot Springfield 31 to 22.
Caps goalie prospect Vitek Vanecek was stout in his cage stopping all 22 shots for his third career AHL shutout.
Former RMNB member, Kyle Mace has his very own Hershey blog called Chocolate Hockey and he’s doing big things. A few weeks ago, Mace published a video of himself playing Hershey Bears forward Chris Bourque at NHL94.
On Wednesday, the same day Jakub Vrana received his first NHL call up, Mace published another video game feature, but this time it featured Vrana and fellow Czech Vitek Vanecek. It was chaos.
The trio navigated (poorly) the FIFA17 FUT Draft. “It look like we have the best team ever,” Vrana said with confidence, before taking on an online player.
The game would end with Vrana threatening to break the TV with his controller.
The Hershey Bears dispatched their intra-state rival, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 4-0 in a scrappy game Wednesday night. Prospect goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 24 saves to earn his second shutout of the season.
Four different Bears scored including Zach Sill, Christian Thomas, Christian Djoos, and Paul Carey. Carey’s goal extended his point streak to 12 games.
The game was scoreless for the first 39:21 of the game until Zach Sill scored the eventual game winner.
Sunday, the Hershey Bears hosted Hometown Heroes night at GIANT Center. The players wore special camouflage jerseys in a salute to the United States military, which featured the Bears logo adorned with an army hard helmet. The sweaters were auctioned off after the game to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and Veterans’ Trust Fund. The evening also featured a special performance from painter Joe Everson during the national anthem as well as local soldiers participating in the ceremonial puck drop. Every fan in attendance received an American flag.
During the actual game, the Bears would lose 3-1 to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Prospect Travis Boyd scored the Bears only goal, scoring on a rebound that bounced high in the air. Vitek Vanecek had another strong game, stopping 28 of 31 shots.
Capitals goaltending prospect Vitek Vanecek stopped 29 Albany Devils shots for his first career AHL shutout Saturday. The Bears got off to a quick start, taking a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. The Bears were buoyed by tallies from veterans Christian Thomas, Brad Malone, and Stan Galiev, all in a 3:06 span. Galiev’s goal was his first AHL tally since the 2015-16 season, where he scored 3 goals in five games.
First year pro Colby Williams would score his second goal in as many nights to cap the Bears scoring in the second period. The 2015 sixth round pick’s overtime goal Friday gave the Bears a victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds.
Vanecek needed to stop 14 shots in the third to preserve the shutout and the 4-0 win for the Bears.
Sunday night in Hershey, the Bears won their second game in 24 hours after a goal and assist performance from top prospect, Jakub Vrana. After Brad Malone opened the scoring for the Bears in the first, Vrana would score the go-ahead goal in the second period off a nice takeaway and pass by Travis Boyd. At the end of the second period, Vrana would author a brilliant assist on the game-winning power play goal by Paul Carey.
The Bears held on to win the game behind 22 stops from netminder Vitek Vanecek.
The Hershey Bears fell to 1-3 on the season after a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to rival Wilkes-Barre Scranton. The Bears’ only goal belonged to Caps prospect Riley Barber. The goal was Barber’s first of the year and was made off a centering pass from Chris Bourque.
Hershey goaltender Vitek Vanecek looked very calm in net, making 33 saves. The Penguins would win on a penalty shot goal by Dominik Simon.
For the purpose of this series, a prospect will be defined as an under-25 player in the Capitals system who was not on the team’s roster for the majority of last season. This allows us to focus on guys who many know little about. You will not see Stan Galiev, Philipp Grubauer, or Andre Burakovsky among others in this list.
The Washington Capitals have 28 prospects in their system who match the criteria set above. Below are those ranked 11 through 28.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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