On any other week, Christian Djoos would have an excellent case to be named the AHL’s Player of the Week. After all, the defenseman tallied 2 goals and 5 assists, but he was overshadowed – by his teammate, Paul Carey. The Bears swept the week thanks in no small part to the offensive prowess of Carey and Djoos and the huge play by Hershey’s 1-2 punch in goal, Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek.
Carey put up 6 goals and 2 assists, although most will tell you he was robbed of a 7th goal in Saturday’s game against Hartford. Still, Carey became the first Bear in 7 years to score four goals in a game (Mathieu Perreault) and notched his first professional hat trick in the process of helping Hershey sweep the week. Not bad for a weekend.
Hershey started the weekend with a Friday/Saturday back-to-back with Hartford. The pair of games against the Wolf Pack, who were already eliminated from the playoffs, were considered trap games. But Hershey found a way to prevail both nights.
The two teams battled scoreless for half of the game Friday before Hartford got a power play goal, but Paul Carey scored his first goal of the weekend just 44 seconds later to tie the game.
Then Christian Djoos added his first goal of the week just 3 seconds before the horn sounded to end the second period. Hartford would once again tie the game early in the third, but Garrett Mitchell responded less than two minutes later to put Hershey back in front.
Hartford then scored with just under four minutes to go in regulation to force overtime. In OT, Djoos scored his second of the game and gave Hershey their first OT win this season in Giant Center, earning first star honors. Friday’s recap is here.
In the rematch Saturday, Carey surpassed Djoos’ incredible Friday night performance with four goals on seven shots.
Carey tallied the first goal of the game, which was followed by goals from Christian Thomas, Carey, and Riley Barber before Hartford tallied back-to-back goals late in the second period.
When Carey tacked on his third midway through the third period, it looked like the game was settled, but Hartford once again got back-to-back goals to pull with in a goal until Carey tacked on an empty netter for his 23rd of the season.
Then, right before the horn sounded, Carey appeared to have scored a fifth goal, but as two fights broke out after the horn, Mann chose not to challenge the call. Saturday’s game recap is here.
But Carey didn’t wait too long to tie Thomas for the team lead in goals with 24, scoring a power play goal in the second period in Bridgeport to tie the game.
Then in the third, Travis Boyd registered his 13th, which was followed by Mitchell’s 10th of the season, an empty netter.
Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek teamed up for an impressive 70 saves on 78 shots with Copley getting the starts Friday and Sunday. Sunday’s game report is here.
The PP was 4 for 14 while the PK was 10 for 13 including a terrific 5 for 5 Sunday in Bridgeport.
Overshadowed somewhat by the phenomenal play of Djoos and Carey was the return of Madison Bowey to the ice Friday. Bowey, who worked hard to make his return ahead of schedule, was paired with Hubert Labrie.
Additionally, due to an injury to Zach Sill, Hampus Gustafsson made his Hershey debut Saturday and Mattias Backman debuted Sunday. Although they got guys back off from injury, Hershey still had three injury scratches Sunday – Sill and Monardo (upper body) and Ness (lower body). Nathan Walker was a game-time decision scratch Sunday.
Hershey returns to action Wednesday at Giant Center against Binghamton before leaving for St. John’s for Saturday and Sunday afternoon games.
*NEW – NovaCaps Three Stars of the Week – Check back later this week for an article on
- Paul Carey – 6G, 2A, +2
- Christian Djoos – 2G, 5A, +6
- Travis Boyd – 1G, 6A, +5
|#||Name||Games played||Goals||Assists||+/-||Shots||Pen Min.|
Vitek Vanecek 1-0 – 15 saves on 19 shots
Pheonix Copley – 2-0 – 55 saves on 59 shots
THREE STARS of the GAME (opponent)
- Djoos (Hartford – Fri), Carey (Hartford – Sat.). Boyd (Bridgeport)
- Carey (Hartford – Fri), C. Bourque (Hartford – Sat.) , Copley (Bridgeport)
- Boyd (Hartford – Fri), Carey (Bridgeport)
Zach Sill (upper body)
Domenic Monardo (upper body)
Aaron Ness (lower body)
DEL – Kelly Zajac – Returned on loan to South Carolina – Mar. 14
DEL – Cody Corbett – Reassigned by Washington to South Carolina – Mar. 14
ADD – Kris Bindulis – Signed to ATO – Mar. 14
ADD – Jakub Vrana – Returned on loan from Washington – Mar. 17
Hershey’s Magic Number is 21 with 11 games remaining, which means their playoff destiny is finally back in their own hands.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 18, 2017