Vincent Iorio’s Season-Long Development Paying Early Dividends For Hershey Bears In Postseason

If you’ve been away for the weekend or haven’t been following the Hershey Bears first two postseason games against the Checkers in Charlotte this weekend, you missed a fairly dominant showing by the chocolate and white. The team is headed back to Hershey up 2-0 and looking to clinch the best-of-five Atlantic Division Semifinal series at home on Wednesday.

The Bears middle six forwards have led the way so far, scoring 17 of the 23 points recorded by the Bears forward group this weekend. Hunter Shepard has also been strong, backstopping the Bears in both victories, stopping a total of 41 of 44 shots faced in both games for a .932 weekend save percentage.

The Bears blueline has also been very strong, allowing just three goals in the weekend set. Among the leaders on the blueline has been rookie Vincent Iorio. It’s only been two postseason games, but Iorio leads all defensemen in points (2) and leads all Bears in plus/minus (+4). Simply put, the rookie has been solid.

However, having watched every one of Iorio’s games this season, the part of his game that is beginning to standout in recent weeks is his overall presence on the back end and fronting the crease. He’s taking control, and often against seasoned AHL veterans.

Iorio’s grit and snarl has also taken a noticeable step forward in recent weeks. He’s taken it to men much older than him and with many more AHL seasons under their belts. He’s really no longer a rookie.

Iorio’s development over the season has been steady. He’s taken his lumps, particularly in the early part of the season, but the progress is definitely starting to show on the ice.

It’s unlikely Iorio will win a full-time spot on the Capitals roster for opening night this fall, but that’s probably asking too much from the 20-year-old. However, considering his rate of development, it’s likely he gets more games with the Capitals next season and will continue to get larger batches of games in Washington until he finally settles in on the Capitals blueline, possibly as soon as the start of the 2024-25 season.

The bottom line, Iorio’s development is on track, and it’s been a fun follow this season.

By Jon Sorensen

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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8 Responses to Vincent Iorio’s Season-Long Development Paying Early Dividends For Hershey Bears In Postseason

  1. Anonymous says:

    Agree with this. On track but not ready. Gabriel Carlsson is next man up right now.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Also agree regarding Carlsson, he’s been the Bears best defenseman all season. However, Caps need to re-sign him, he’s an RFA.

      • GRin430 says:

        In this series, at least, Iorio and Johansen have been better than Mcilrath and Carlsson. This post highlights Iorio, and he’s been great, but Johansen has also been very solid. He’s not flashy, not a big hitter, but he has been very effective at defending and getting the puck out of his zone. That’s all he really needs to do.

        That’s also what he did in the couple of games he got in the NHL. To me, that’s fine for a 7th defenseman, and with him and Iorio available for spot duty next year, the Caps should not go spend a bunch of money or other assets on a 7th defenseman for next year.

        • Anonymous says:

          Johansen turns 26 this fall. I think his shot is all but over, as now there are defensemen ahead of him. Gabriel Carlsson is the next best bet in Hershey. He’s been the Bears best defenseman all season.

  2. Prevent Defense says:

    NHL Playoffs:
    Cardiac Cats! Paul Maurice was the right selection for FLA head coach. Win or Lose, they took BOS to Seventh Game Overtime. Tied up with the goalie pulled in the final minute. It’s 3-3

  3. novafyre says:

    ECHL: Everblades scored in the second, Bear scored in the third, and Blades won it and the series in OT. Blades had 33 SOG, Rays 29. Clay was in net. Bear had 4 SOG, Maass and Kim had one each, Has did not play. So Rays join the Caps on vacation.

  4. Brian Beakes (@Puckstop31_) says:

    Fully agree that his development is going well. He has clearly has more snarl/grit in his game today and it’s so fun to watch. He comes across as a timid, nice guy when you talk to him. “Gee, I wonder if I should do that, I am a rookie.” Or, when he cut his flow in December… “Well, my mom made me do it. Ill grow it back.” Ha. Love the guy. Anyway, see him out there now pushing back after whistles and (lip reading) seeing him tell the opponent to “get F___ed”. Assuming he keeps progressing like this, he will be a steady hand on the blueline for a long time.

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