Connor McMichael Scores, Hunter Shepard Shines, As Bears Ground Thunderbirds, 2-1

Screen cap: AHL TV

The Hershey Bears downed the Springfield Thunderbirds, 2-1 Wednesday night at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass . Connor McMichael scored his first goal back with the Bears and Hunter Shepard stopped 226 of 27 in the win. The Bears record improves to 10-4-2-0 (22 points) on the season.


Hunter Shepard (3-0-2, .930 sv%, 1.96 GAA) got the start in goal for the Bears. Joel Hofer (4-5-2 .920 sv%, 2.52 GAA) got the start between the pipes for the Thunderbirds. The forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Mike Vecchione –Mike Sgarbossa – Sam Anas
Henrik Borgstrom – Connor McMichael – Henrik Rybinski
Mason Morelli – Hendrix Lapierre – Julain Napravnik
Kale Kessy – Riley Sutter – Matt Strome

Gabriel Carlsson – Aaron Ness
Bobby Nardella – Dylan McIlrath
Jake Massie – Vinny Iorio

Scratches: Shane Gersich (upper body injury), Garrett Pilon (lower body injury), Lucas Johansen (lower body injury), Ethan Frank (upper body injury) and Logan Day.

Recalls/Re-assignments: Connor McMichael was re-assigned to Hershey on Sunday, November 20. Alex Alexeyev was recalled to the Capitals on Tuesday, November 8. Lucas Johansen was returned to Hershey on Wednesday, November 9.

The Bears announced on Wednesday, November 23 that the club has recalled defenseman Michael Kim from South Carolina (ECHL), and also signed forward Kevin O’Neil to a professional tryout agreement (PTO).


The Bears were called for a pair of early penalties in the first half of the period, but were able to kill both of the Thunderbird’s power plays.

In the end, the first frame would go without a tally.

Hershey led in shots 8-7. Springfield was 0 for 2 on the power play while Hershey did not have a man advantage in the first 20.


The Bears and T-Birds skated to a scoreless draw for most of the middle frame. The Thunderbirds would finally dent the twine late in the frame with a goal from Martin Frk at 17:04. Matthew Highmore (14) had the lone assist.

But the Bears would strike back just 42 seconds later. Connor McMichael would make a nice move in the slot and pot the tying tally at 17:26. Henrik Borgstrom (5) and Henrik Rybinski (2) had the assists.

The period would end with the game tied, 1-1. Springfield led in shots, 10-7 in the middle frame, and 17-16 after two periods. Springfield was 0 for 3 and Hershey 0 for 1 on the power play after 40 minutes.


The two teams skated to a scoreless draw in the first half of the final frame. Hunter Shepard made an incredible save to keep the game tied.

The Bears took their first lead of the game with a goal from Mason Morelli (3) at 8:18 of the third period.

The Bears would hang on for the 2-1 road win.

The Bears are back in action on Friday when they play the first of a weekend pair against the Wolf Pack in Hartford.


  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 5,510
  • Hunter Shepard won his 4th straight.
  • Springfield led in shots 27-25.
  • Hunter Shepard stopped 26 of 27 for a .962 game save percentage.
  • Stars of the game: 1) Hunter Shepard, 2) Mason Morelli and 3) MArtin Frk.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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6 Responses to Connor McMichael Scores, Hunter Shepard Shines, As Bears Ground Thunderbirds, 2-1

  1. novafyre says:

    When do we send them Darcy? Do we bring up Hunter or Zach?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bears are a really good team. Yes, blame me for the jinx, but they are good.

  3. dwgie26 says:

    There is a lot of talent there. First line is all AHL vets. Second line all good prospects. Like Lapierre with Morelli. Wish Frank was back in. Missing Pilon and LuJo as well.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Jon. That save. Words fail. Woa.

  5. j says:

    Thrilled for Connor. He needs this.

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