Former Bulldog, Thunderhawk Hunter Shepard Dazzles in AHL Debut
Shepard finished with 28 saves in a shutout win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
HERSHEY, Pa. – It has been quite a journey in the pros so far for former UMD goalie Hunter Shepard.
After an abrupt end to his college career last year, the Cohasset native signed a pro deal with the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals. And after starting his career in the ECHL with the South Carolina Stingrays, Shepard made his first AHL start Sunday And he did not disappoint.
Shepard finished with 28 saves in a shutout win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Grand Rapids alum says he found out late last week that he was going to be in net so it gave him a lot of time to prepare. But the long wait left him chomping at the bit to get his first taste of AHL action.
“Not a lot of action, but a couple decent opportunities in the first period, kind of made a couple saves and settle in. Then obviously there was more action in the second and the third. I think getting that first period under my belt without any major mishaps definitely gave me some confidence,” Shepard said.
“I don’t remember, at least at this level, in the three years that I’ve been here, and I’m not just talking a goaltender. I’m talking a player in his first AHL game to have that type of impact and play that well. He was lights out,” said head coach Spencer Carbery.
The Bears are deep at goaltender with five netminders on the roster. But Shepard says he’ll take advantage of any chance he gets to man the crease.
“Nothing leaves a worse feeling in your stomach than not going out there and doing your best. You’re not going to have your best game all the time. But when you get an opportunity like that and you’re not obviously not getting a lot of opportunities lately, it’s just really nice to go out there and play a little,” said Shepard.
The win was also the 100th career victory for head coach Spencer Carbery.