Last week it was difficult to settle on three – this week might have been harder yet. Ten guys recorded multi-point weeks and the two goalies nearly had a clean sweep, putting up big numbers, combining for a .936 save percentage.
But as usual, we’ve narrowed it down to three…almost. Honorable mention “shout outs” are going to Zach Sill (2A), Nathan Walker (1G, 1A), Travis Boyd (2A), Chris Bourque (1G, 1A), and Kelly Zajac (1G, 1A). In addition, Christian Thomas (1G, 2A), Ryan Bourque (2G, 1A), and Paul Carey (2G, 1A) made things difficult as far as determining 2nd/3rd star of the week honors, which is a good predicament to have.
But we’ve settled on these players
Star Number 1 – Stan Galiev – 2G, 2A
It’s worth saying again and again – Hershey is certainly glad this guy wasn’t traded by the trade deadline! He duplicated last week’s 2G, 2A performance. And just when you think they won’t come at a bigger time – he finds a way.
Trailing 1-0 and later 2-1 Sunday on home ice to Providence, Galiev scored not once, but twice in the first period from “Ovie’s Office” to give the Bears the jump-start they needed to win the week. He earned first star honors against Providence.
Galiev is a right-winger, but he’s getting mighty comfortable (and good) when he’s on that left side. He often ends up there as well as in front of the net. All in all, he seems to be making the most of his time in the AHL and making a solid case for a shot in the NHL somewhere next season.
Star Number 2 – Christian Djoos – 4A
This is one of the three “kids” or rookie defensemen who weren’t supposed to be in the Calder Cup Finals with the Bears last season. He’s a defenseman, but he can make things happen offensively as well.
While he didn’t end up on the scoresheet against Providence, he found his way there Friday (1A) and Saturday (3A). He earned first star honors for Saturday’s performance. While still a very young defenseman, his potential is very high and his offensive contributions aren’t going without notice either.
Star Number 3 – Pheonix Copley/Vitek Vanecek – combined 2-1 record; 88 saves on 94 shots
Troy Mann said all year that he wanted to manage Vanecek much like he did Copley during his first year – except Copley didn’t get to finish out the season with Hershey after being traded to St. Louis.
Fast forward to this season. Vanecek, a first year AHL goalie, was forced into the #1 spot as things did not go as the organization had hoped with Joe Cannata. But now that Copley has returned, Vanecek is finding his groove, usually starting a game a week. Mann and his staff are selecting Vanecek’s starts in order for him to be successful, and he’s been. This week, he stopped 27 of 28 shots in his victory over Binghamton.
Meanwhile, Copley went 1-1 on the week as the Bears were unable to defeat Lehigh Valley Friday night. He stopped 61 of 66 shots in his two starts. He earned second star honors Friday and third star honors Sunday and stood with his hands on his hips in the middle of the ice at Giant Center, much to the delight of the crowd, after Malcolm Subban attempted to challenge him to a fight after Hershey defeated Providence Sunday.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 12, 2017