They aren’t making this easy anymore – and Bears fans LOVE it! This week, any number of players could have made it as one of NoVa Caps Bears Stars of the Week. Heck, Dan “Beaker” Stuck should probably be on this list.
The guy earned his keep getting Pheonix Copley hydrated after Friday’s bout of dehydration forced the goalie from the game. He stitched up Christian Thomas and Hubert Labrie to name a few. Or Kelly Zajac, up from South Carolina, could have made the list with a pair of goals against Springfield Sunday that enabled the Bears to sweep the week. How about Labrie himself? The guy gets sent into the boards, gets put back together by Beaker, and comes back out to battle along the boards the rest of the way.
But, we have to give our nods to Thomas, Copley, and Stan Galiev.
Star Number 1 – Christian Thomas – 3G, 2A
This guy just keeps out doing himself! He is first on the team in goals this season with 22. He’s having the best season of his pro career, probably deserves a shot in the NHL. If the Caps weren’t so loaded and he wouldn’t have to clear waivers, he’d probably have been there a time or two.
But he’s not discouraged (look for our prospect report on Thomas later this week to learn more). He just puts his head down and keeps on doing what he does, and then gives credit right back to his teammates.
Thomas made the three stars list for every game this week. A remarkable accomplishment if you take into account the number of players that could have made the list each game. He recorded a pair of goals in Syracuse Friday, a pair of assists against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Saturday, and the game-tying goal against Springfield Sunday.
He’s the son of former NHLer Steve Thomas, who is currently an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues. At age 16, Christian, who grew up around hockey rinks, opted for hockey over another sport, but you’ll have to wait for our prospect report to read about that. Hershey Bears fans sure are glad he did, and are certainly glad he’s wearing Chocolate and White!
Star Number 2 – Pheonix Copley 63 saves on 65 shots – 2 starts/2 wins
How does one go from Chicago (St. Louis AHL affiliate) to Hershey to Syracuse and into a game? It’s not easy – just ask our number 2 star this week in Hershey. Copley, who was part of that blockbuster Shattenkirk trade, started in net for his new, old team, the Hershey Bears in Syracuse Friday night. More on Copley here.
You see, he’s been in Hershey before and been part of a St. Louis/Washington blockbuster trade before, you know, the one that brought TJ Oshie to Washington? And for the better part of the game, Hershey fans were ecstatic that he was back. Then, about 7 minutes into the third period, Copley was down. He needed the assistance of Zach Sill and Chandler Stephenson (along with Beaker) to get off the ice. The news that came later was encouraging – he was dehydrated, but was able to travel home with the team.
Even better news? He started Saturday night too. Thanks, Beaker! He stopped 27 of 28 pucks Friday night and earned the game’s first star in Syracuse (North Division leader) and followed that up with 36 saves on 37 shots Saturday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the game’s first star honors once again. Had he played Sunday, we’d have had to make him our first star. As it stands, it was a heck of a reentry to Hershey. “Cops” we’re sure glad you’re back – Welcome home!
Star Number 3 – Stan Galiev – 2G, 2A
It’s worth mentioning that Tom Gilbert (1G, 3A) also had a four-point weekend for Hershey, but our nod here is Galiev. After failing to make it onto the score sheet Friday night in Syracuse, Galiev more than made up for it at Giant Center. More on Galiev here.
Saturday night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the leaders in the Atlantic Division, Galiev had the primary assist on a goal from Colby Williams that tied the game. He then scored the game-winner at the end of the second period.
On Sunday, he was at it again. He scored Hershey’s first goal, a power play goal, late in the second period. He then tacked on the primary assist, a beautiful tape-to-tape, cross-ice pass to Thomas, on the goal that tied the game.
He was named second star in both games at Giant Center, so for that we make him our third star of the week. Oh, and we’re so glad he wasn’t traded!
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 5, 2017