In his third full season with the Hershey Bears, Capitals goalie prospect Vitek Vanecek has been named to his first AHL All-Star Game.
The 22-year-old Czech, who has split time with Ilya Samsonov this season, has seven wins, including one shutout, and a .909 save percentage.
Vanecek ranks eighth in the AHL with a 2.55 goals against average this season. According to the Bears, the 2014 second-round draft pick has allowed two or less goals in nine of his 16 starts this year. He posted a career-high 40 saves in Hershey’s win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on October 17. Vanecek was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending on October 21.
NEWS: Vitek Vanecek (@vitacz15) has been selected to represent the Bears at the 2019 Lexus #AHLAllStar Classic in Springfield on Jan. 27-28. Congratulations, Vitek! #HBH https://t.co/LyzXnDoHT6 pic.twitter.com/PAqdjFhkWV
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) January 3, 2019
Vanecek had a huge smile in the locker room after Bears head coach Spencer Carbery told him the news.
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This year’s AHL All-Star Game is being held in Springfield, Massachusetts and hosted by the Springfield Thunderbirds, the Florida Panthers’ affiliate.
According to the AHL, the 2019 rosters feature 13 former first- or second-round draft choices. In addition, 26 of the All-Stars named have been recalled to the NHL already this season, including standouts Michael Dal Colle of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (N.Y. Islanders), Mackenzie Blackwood of the Binghamton Devils (New Jersey), Lawrence Pilut of the Rochester Americans (Buffalo), Collin Delia of the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago), Drake Batherson of the Belleville Senators (Ottawa) and Brandon Pirri of the Chicago Wolves (Vegas). Since 1995, more than 94 percent of All-Star Classic participants have gone on to compete in the NHL.
More from the Bears:
(Hershey, PA – January 3, 2019)-The American Hockey League announced today that goaltender Vitek Vanecek of the Hershey Bears has been selected to play for the Atlantic Division in the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield on Jan. 27-28 in Springfield, Massachusetts. This marks Vanecek’s first All-Star Classic selection.
Complete rosters for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield are AVAILABLE HERE.
Vanecek, 22, ranks eighth in the AHL with a 2.55 goals against average this season. He has collected a 7-7-2 record this year, posting a .909 save percentage and one shutout. The native of Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic has allowed two or less goals in nine of his 16 starts this year. He posted a career-high 40 saves in Hershey’s win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Oct. 17, and was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 21. In that span, Vanecek posted a 2-0-1 record with a 1.62 goals against average and a .949 save percentage on the week, stopping 94 of 99 shots in three road starts.
Vanecek was selected in the second round, 39th overall, by the Washington Capitals in the 2014 NHL Draft. After posting a 2.03 goals against average and landing on the ECHL All-Rookie Team with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2015-16, Vanecek collected a win in his first AHL start for the Bears on Apr. 17, 2016, beating Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 2-1, in a shootout. He joined the Bears full-time for the 2016-17 campaign, and in total, has appeared in 88 career games with Hershey, going 38-30-11 with a 2.70 goals against average, .902 save percentage, and eight shutouts.
The 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield will include the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, Jan. 27, followed by the AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony on Monday, Jan. 28, with the 2019 AHL All-Star Challenge taking place that evening. The All-Star Challenge consists of a round-robin, 3-on-3 tournament pitting the four AHL divisions against one another.
Tickets for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield are priced at $39, $49, $59, and $99, and include admission to both the Skills Competition on Jan. 27 and the All-Star Challenge on Jan. 28. Tickets are available now at springfieldthunderbirds.com/allstar.
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