With the Washington Capitals’ injuries in goal, the Hershey Bears have been stretched thin at the position, too. Over a stretch of eight days, the Bears, the AHL’s best team, were forced to sign two emergency goaltenders and give three starts to rookie Clay Stevenson.
Now, a sense of normalcy will return to Hershey’s net as the Capitals sent Zach Fucale and Hunter Shepard back to the AHL. The veteran Fucale is in his third season with the Bears while Shepard was the AHL goaltender of the month in November.
The news means officially that Darcy Kuemper will return to the Capitals’ active roster tonight and backup Charlie Lindgren.
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) December 19, 2022
The Capitals originally called up Shepard after it was clear Darcy Kuemper would be out for a period of time due to an upper-body injury while the Caps summoned Fucale after Shepard got hurt at practice Saturday.
Now both players will head back to Chocolatetown, where they will try to build upon Hershey’s hot start. The Bears have the most victories (19) and points in the AHL (41).
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Capitals Loan Zach Fucale and Hunter Shepard to Hershey
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have loaned goaltenders Zach Fucale and Hunter Shepard to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Fucale, 27, has posted a record of 10-6-1 with one shutout, a 2.60 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage in 17 games with Hershey this season. The 6’2”, 193-pound goaltender ranks tied for third in the AHL in wins and tied for fourth in shutouts.
The Laval, Quebec native appeared in 31 games with Hershey in 2021-22, posting an 11-15-5 record with a 2.62 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage. The 6’2”, 189-pound goaltender recorded three shutouts, which led Hershey and set an AHL single-season career high. In 128 career AHL games with Hershey, the Syracuse Crunch, Chicago Wolves, Laval Rocket and St. John’s IceCaps, Fucale has a record of 58-55-10 with seven shutouts, a 2.79 goals-against average and .901 save percentage.
Fucale was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round, 36th overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Shepard, 27, has posted a record of 6-0-2 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in eight games with Hershey this season. The 6’0”, 215-pound goaltender ranks first in the AHL in goals-against average and third in save percentage. Shepard was named the AHL Goaltender of the Month for November after posting a record of 6-0-0 with a 1.63 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage in six games played.
The Cohasset, Minnesota native appeared in nine games with Hershey during the 2021-22 season, finishing with a 5-3-0 record with one shutout, a 2.06 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Shepard also appeared in 23 games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, posting a record of 12-9-2 with a 2.88 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage and two shutouts.
In 20 career AHL games with Hershey, Shepard has a record of 14-3-2 with a 1.80 goals-against average, a .934 save percentage and two shutouts. Shepard has a 24-15-4 record with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in 44 career ECHL games with South Carolina.
Headline photo: Kyle Mace / Hershey Bears
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