Capitals goaltending prospect Vitek Vanecek stopped 29 Albany Devils shots for his first career AHL shutout Saturday. The Bears got off to a quick start, taking a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. The Bears were buoyed by tallies from veterans Christian Thomas, Brad Malone, and Stan Galiev, all in a 3:06 span. Galiev’s goal was his first AHL tally since the 2015-16 season, where he scored 3 goals in five games.
First year pro Colby Williams would score his second goal in as many nights to cap the Bears scoring in the second period. The 2015 sixth round pick’s overtime goal Friday gave the Bears a victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds.
Vanecek needed to stop 14 shots in the third to preserve the shutout and the 4-0 win for the Bears.
(Hershey, PA- November 5, 2016) Vitek Vanecek stopped 29 shots to earn his first American Hockey League shutout as the Hershey Bears (5-2-2-0) topped the Albany Devils (6-4-0-0) 4-0 on Saturday night at the GIANT Center. The Bears have now won four straight games and collected standings points in seven consecutive contests.
Playing a rested Albany team, Vanecek was forced to stand tall early as the Devils outshot the Bears 7-1 in the opening minutes. Hershey rewarded their goaltender with a flurry of tallies. The Bears scored three goals in a span of 3:06 to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Hershey forward Christian Thomas opened the scoring with his third goal of the season, connecting on the power play at 11:40. Thomas intercepted a pass in the slot and hit the goal post with his first shot. He scored on the rebound, sliding a backhand past Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to make it 1-0.
At 13:15, the Bears doubled the lead. Brad Malone accepted a Chris Bourque pass and raced down the left wing. He snapped a shot over the blocker of Blackwood to make it 2-0 Bears. The goal was Malone’s fifth of the season.
Hershey wasn’t finished as forward Stan Galiev struck for his first goal of the season at 14:46. Thomas and Colby Williams assisted, and Galiev slid a shot past the left pad of Blackwood to make it 3-0. The goal ended Blackwood’s night as Scott Wedgewood replaced him. Blackwood allowed three goals on six shots.
Williams added to Hershey’s lead in the second period, scoring for the second straight night. Wedgewood kicked out an initial slap shot from Madison Bowey, but the rebound popped loose on the left wing. Williams threw the puck to the goal and beat a sprawled Wedgewood under the arm to make it 4-0 at 16:42 of the middle frame.
In the third period, Vanecek kept the Devils scoreless, stopping 14 shots to preserve the shutout. The 2nd Round selection of the Washington Capitals in the 2014 NHL Draft has won his past two starts and is 2-1-1 on the season.
The Devils outshot Hershey 29-26 in the game. Hershey was 1-for-6 on the power play, giving them power play goals in three straight games. The Devils were 0-for-2.
Tomorrow night the Bears host the Rochester Americans at 5 p.m. It’s David A. Smith Team Photo Night and Team Autograph Night. Tickets are available.
The Bears take on the Rochester Americans Sunday evening.
Featured photo: Kyle Mace/Chocolate Hockey