HERSHEY, Pa. – The Hershey Bears added their second player in as many days on the heels of signing Tyler Nanne on Monday, adding decorated goaltender Hunter Shepard to an AHL deal for 2020-21.
Shepard played the past four seasons with the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he helped the Bulldogs win back-to-back NCAA titles in 2018 and 2019. He also started a NCAA-record 115 straight games from 2017 to 2020.
The 6’1″, 210 lbs. goaltender was a co-captain of the Bulldogs his senior year; he went 22-10-2 with a 2.18 goals against average and a 0.918 save percentage. He finished his collegiate career with a 76-37-5 record over 119 games, and finished first in UMD history with wins (76), goals against average (1.94), save percentage (0.922), and shutouts (17).
Perhaps most impressive of all is Shepard’s postseason statistics at UMD. He was 8-0 in NCAA Tournament play with a 0.97 goals against average and a 0.953 save percentage. He was named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Goaltender of the Year for two straight seasons, and was also named UMD’s Most Valuable Player for two consecutive years. He’s also a three-time Mike Richter Award Finalist and a three-time All-NCHC selection.
To say the Bears have landed a top tier free agent goaltender is an understatement. Shepard should figure into Hershey’s goaltending rotation in 2020-21.
Watch Shepard and the Bulldogs win the NCAA championship from 2019 below.
WHERE WILL HE FIT IN?
How does Shepard factor into Hershey’s lineup? It’s hard to say at this juncture how Hershey’s goaltending situation looks, particularly with the movement in Washington still looming large later on in the fall. However, Shepard’s decorated tenure at UMD certainly seems to warrant time in Hershey rather than South Carolina. But, with gaps to fill concerning the Stingrays (particularly with the retirement of Parker Milner), there’s still spots to be filled. If either Vitek Vanecek or Pheonix Copley were to move up to Washington, this signing certainly provides a very promising addition and some relief in net for the Chocolate and White.
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