*NEW – NovaCaps Three Stars of the Week in Hershey
- Stan Galiev – 3G, 0A
- Garrett Mitchell – 1G, 1A
- Vitek Vanecek – 1-1 (Shutout)
First Star – Stan Galiev aka “Stan the Man”
The kid just keeps on impressing at the AHL level. Two weeks after his second hat trick in his career (previously recorded a hat trick while playing for Hershey’s then-ECHL affiliate, the Reading Royals) he comes up with two monster goals against one of the AHL’s hottest goalies, Zane McIntyre in Hershey’s Friday night loss in Providence.
Following his reassignment to Hershey to start the season, fans saw Galiev begin to return to form after playing very few games in Washington last season. His hard work had just started to pay off when the injury bug bit.
After missing games due to an upper body injury, Galiev has once again returned to form and now has 15 goals in 33 games played. Additionally, he 11 assists. His 26 points place him 7th on the team in scoring (and the players ahead of him have played 11-20 more games than he has), and his +12 is second only to Tyler Lewington.
Second Star – Garrett Mitchell
The Captain isn’t as flashy as some of the other guys with goals and assists, but it’s the little things that he does that went along with the goal and assist he recorded that earned him a nod as our second star this week.
In 50 games so far this season, Mitchell has 7 goals and 7 assists. But it’s his willingness to stick up for his teammates that is perhaps his biggest asset. Mitchell, who often engages in “conversations” with opposing team members, has 94 penalty minutes this season, and is often smaller than his opponents, but he gets the job done.
Sunday night in Bridgeport, Mitchell took on the 6’1”, 200 pound Ben Holmstrom. Bridgeport’s captain is slightly taller and weighs a tad more than Mitchell, but that doesn’t seem to bother Mitchell who said during Hockey in Heels that he doesn’t enter into games looking for fights, but sometimes they just happen in the heat of the moment.
Third Star – Vitek Vanecek
Vanecek recorded his fourth shutout this past weekend in Providence Saturday night. Friday night, in relief of Parker Milner, Vanecek stopped 18 of 18 shots, but Hershey was unable to secure a victory, so Milner was the goalie of record Friday night.
Unfortunately for Vanecek, Sunday’s contest didn’t go as well in Bridgeport, but his four shutouts have him tied for second in the league. So far this season, he has amassed 844 saves with a save % of .904. Additionally, he recorded an assist earlier this year on a goal by Chandler Stephenson.
Did we mention that he’s a rookie? Hershey’s plan for Vanecek was to bring him along slowly, picking and choosing his starts to allow him to be successful and gain confidence. While they’ve been forced to deviate from this plan some, Vanecek is starting to show that confidence level from early in the season. If the Bears start limiting turnovers and playing better defense in front of him, Vanecek should continue to impress.
By Julie Beidler