Hours before they are set to take on the Florida Panthers in Game Three of their first-round series, the Washington Capitals have made another goaltending roster move. This time it’s a recall of Hunter Shepard from the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Shepard backed up Pheonix Copley in Hershey’s Game One loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday.
The American netminder has had a bit of a roller coaster of a season, spending time at three separate levels of professional hockey. He had multiple stints with the Capitals taxi squad, played in nine games for Hershey in the AHL, and played in another 23 games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.
— x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 7, 2022
As said previously, Shepard has spent most of his 2021-22 campaign split between Hershey and South Carolina. The 26-year-old former NCAA standout had a 5-3-0 record with a 2.06 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, and one shutout with the Bears and a 12-9-2 record with a 2.88 goals-against average, .917 save percentage, and two shutouts for the Stingrays.
Like Fucale before him, he is mostly on the playoff roster now just so that the Caps have a third goaltender on hand.
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Capitals Recall Hunter Shepard from Hershey
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have recalled goaltender Hunter Shepard from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Shepard, 26, has posted a record 5-3-0 with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in nine games with Hershey this season. Additionally, the 6’0″, 215-pound goaltender has appeared in 23 games for the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL, posting a record of 12-9-2 with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .917 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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