The Capitals re-assigned Hunter Shepard to their taxi squad on Friday. The move came ahead of practice and before the Caps’ travel north to play the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on Saturday.
With back-to-back games this weekend and several players in COVID protocol, Shepard gives the Capitals depth and an extra body at the goaltending position if an emergency arises.
NEWS | The Washington Capitals have re-assigned goaltender Hunter Shepard from the Hershey Bears to the taxi squad.#ALLCAPS | @FTX_Official https://t.co/yEdQAnnBus
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 14, 2022
Shepard was called up for a practice late last week before being sent back down to Hershey three hours later in favor of Zach Fucale. Fucale ended up playing in three games, coming in relief of Ilya Samsonov in a game against the Blues and then making two consecutive starts.
Shepard has split time between AHL Hershey and ECHL South Carolina this season. The 26-year-old former NCAA standout has a 3-1-0 record and a 1.75 goals-against average, .923 save percentage, and one shutout in four games with the Bears during the 2021-2022 season. Shepard has posted a 3-4-2 record and a .903 save percentage in the ECHL.
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Capitals Re-assign Hunter Shepard to Taxi Squad from Hershey
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-assigned goaltender Hunter Shepard from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) to the taxi squad, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Shepard, 26, has posted a record of 3-1-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and one shutout in four games with Hershey this season. Additionally, the 6’0”, 215-pound goaltender has appeared in nine games for the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL, posting a record of 3-4-2 record with a 3.43 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
The Cohasset, Minn., native appeared in three games with Hershey in the 2020-21 season, finishing with a 3-0-0 record with one shutout, a 1.00 goals-against average and a .969 save percentage. Shepard played in 21 games with the Stingrays, earning a 12-6-2 record with one shutout, a 2.55 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Shepard earned Goaltender of the Week honors with South Carolina in the week of May 24-30 after going 3-0-0 with a shutout, a 1.33 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.
Shepard signed an AHL contract with Hershey on June 30, 2020, following a four-year career with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in the NCAA. In 119 games with the team – which included an NCAA-record 115 straight games from Oct. 21, 2017 to March 7, 2020 – Shepard finished with a 76-37-5 record, ranking first all-time in Bulldogs history in wins, goals-against average (1.94), save percentage (.922) and shutouts (17). Shepard won back-to-back NCAA Championships with the Bulldogs in 2018 and 2019, was twice named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Goaltender of the Year (2019 and 2020), earned First-Team All-American honors in 2019 and Second-Team All-American honors in 2020. Shepard finished his NCAA career as a three-time Mike Richter Award Finalist – given to the NCAA’s top goaltender – and a three-time All-NCHC selection.
Prior to his collegiate career, Shepard appeared in 81 games with the Bismarck Bobcats of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) from 2014-15 through 2015-16. In 2015-16, Shepard earned North American Hockey League Goaltender of the Year honors, was named to the First All-Star Team and led the NAHL in games played (50), wins (34), and shutouts (8), while ranking second in goals-against average (1.90).
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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