Some weeks are easier than others when deciding on the three biggest and brightest stars in Hershey for the week, but this week was relatively easy. Three Caps prospects rose above their teammates and helped Hershey to a 2-1 record on the week.
It’s worth mentioning that Travis Boyd has been impressive of late, making passes that show that he is ready for the NHL. But it was teammate Paul Carey who earned the recall this past week, making him the third recall for the Caps since the trade deadline. Carey’s departure helped pave the way for Riley Barber and Jakub Vrana to steal the spotlight this week.
Star # 1 – Riley Barber – 2G, 2A, +4
After missing part of the season due to injury, Riley Barber is making up for lost time. He currently has 11 goals and 10 assists in just 31 games. The first of his two goals this weekend came Wednesday night on Giant Center ice in Hershey’s 3-1 victory over the Binghamton Senators. The insurance marker came with just 58 seconds left in the second period.
Then in St. John’s on Sunday, Barber connected for the game’s first goal. With teammate Jakub Vrana harassing the Ice Caps and getting the puck to Travis Boyd, Barber headed to an open spot on the ice, and buried it for a 1-0 Hershey lead. He assisted on Vrana’s third period game winner as well.
Star # 2 – Jakub Vrana – 1G, 3A, +2
In just 41 games with the Bears this season, Jakub Vrana has put everyone on notice – he will be playing in the NHL. He has 15 goals and 15 assists on the season, good enough for 8th in points on the team.
After Saturday’s heartbreaking loss to St. John’s, Barber and Vrana teamed up on both of Hershey’s goals in the 2-1 victory Sunday. His tenacious dogging of the puck led to Barber’s goal in the first. Then he raced in with Barber early in the 3rd for the game winning goal. We profiled Jakub Vrana at the announcement of his first recall this year – that article can be found here.
Star # 3 – Pheonix Copley – 2-1, .941 Save %
Finally, Pheonix Copley has been just brilliant in net as Hershey’s #1 goalie. He’s posted a 7-2 mark in 9 games since being part of the Shattenkirk/Sanford trade. Originally a member of the team, he had been traded to St. Louis in the TJ Oshie deal and expressed his pleasure at returning to Hershey earlier this month in our Prospect Interview.
This week, Copley went 2-1 with the lone loss coming in the final 15 minutes of Saturday night’s game in St. John’s. He was simply dazzling in Sunday’s game stopping 35 of 36 shots including the sequence below.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 22, 2017