It’s hard not to compare the performances of previous weeks to last week’s and be disappointed by the numbers and outcome, but while the team stumbled through the weekend, we’d still like to take a look at three bright spots for the Bears.
Star #1 – Travis Boyd – 1G, 1A
While we selected Boyd our first star based on his numbers from last weekend, we were perhaps a bit prophetic as he stole the show last night in Lehigh Valley. With just over a minute remaining in overtime, Boyd got the game-winning goal, perhaps the biggest of the season for the Bears as Hershey needed to pick up a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Boyd has been terrific this season. His vision on the ice has improved greatly leaving little doubt that he has the makings of an NHL center. Sunday night, he set up Jakub Vrana’s goal that tied the game early in the second period. He also added a power play goal Saturday against Bridgeport to get the Bears on the board.
Star #2 – Vitek Vanecek – 9 saves on 9 shots in 21:07 Saturday
Oh where, oh where has our Vitek gone? Vanecek made his first appearance in net Saturday in relief of Pheonix Copley after Bridgeport jumped out to a 4-1 lead. Prior to that, Vitek’s last appearance in net was back in March against the Hartford Wolf Pack at Giant Center.
Vanecek came in and stopped all nine shots he faced to a roar of approval from the fans at Giant Center. Two of those came in the second period and seven saves came in the third as Hershey tried to stage a come-back, but fell short. While blame is often heaped on goalies, praise is often hard to come by. We’re giving Vanecek our nod here as second star because it isn’t easy to sit that long and come off the bench in a bad situation and shine.
Star #3 – Nathan Walker – 1G
Our Aussie is back on the wing where he belongs. After moving to center and doing what he could to help the team (during the terrific stretch in March), he has moved back to the left-wing and wasted little time getting his offense rolling again.
Walker scored Hershey’s first goal Sunday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He almost got a second in that game, but the officials deemed that he played the puck into the goal with a high stick. With little to no chance of having the call reversed, Troy Mann opted not to use his challenge, thus Walker ended the week and game with one goal as opposed to two.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 2, 2017