ARLINGTON, Va. – It wasn’t quite a Hershey Bears game on Friday afternoon, but the Washington Capitals were getting a team scrimmage in before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. Days before the team travels to Toronto and stays in the NHL’s bubble for the postseason, the Caps’ final scrimmage featured rosters that some would consider to be imbalanced: a lot of Washington regulars on Team White, and a lot of Hershey skaters on Team Red.
#Caps roster for today’s 4 p.m. intrasquad scrimmage, presented by @LeidosInc, at @MedStarIceplex @MonSportsNet will livestream on #Caps and @NBCSWashington Twitter and Facebook platforms. @WaltonCaps & @VogsCaps will broadcast the action. pic.twitter.com/RECdv1FGSG
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) July 24, 2020
While it wasn’t completely the Capitals versus the Bears in terms of the rosters, players like Braden Holtby and Garnet Hathaway as well as Richard Panik and Radko Gudas suited up for the Red squad, while Tyler Lewington and the goaltending duo of Vitek Vanecek and Pheonix Copley skated for the White squad.
It seemed a little bit of a lopsided roster to most going into the game. Hershey fans, of course, knew this wasn’t completely the case, and the majority of Bears skaters from last season took a 2-1 decision over their NHL counterparts. Brian Pinho and Garnet Hathaway scored for the Red group, while Travis Boyd scored late for the White group.
Pinho opened the scoring by finishing a nice passing play with Daniel Sprong (who had a goal taken off the board in the early going on an offsides call by referee and former Hershey Assistant Coach Reid Cashman) that got the Red squad off and running. Hathaway would tally shortly afterwards in the first period that ended up as the game-winner this afternoon.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 24, 2020
It was a strong showing for a number of Hershey forwards who showed why the Bears were one of the AHL’s best teams in 2019-20. Phil Maillet and Shane Gersich had impressive showings on the offensive side of the puck that really seemed to surprise their veteran opponents, and the top prospect defenders in Martin Fehervary and Alexander Alexeyev had some very impressive defensive plays in the contest.
Both Team Red goals came during the first half with Vanecek in goal while Copley came up with a clean sheet in his action, both with some solid saves. Tyler Lewington had a nice shorthanded chance for the White group, as well.
The White squad tallied in the game’s final minute when Alexander Ovechkin fired a shot from the left faceoff circle that found a perfect deflection from Travis Boyd to get the big boys on the board late. Boyd skated with the Bears briefly to start the 2019-20 season before he was recalled to spend most of the year with the Caps, scoring four goals and two assists in four games, earning Player of the Week honors for that performance. In addition, he had three full and very productive seasons with the Chocolate and White dating back to the 2014-15 season.
For the Caps, it’ll be off to the bubble in Toronto to kick off the postseason with an exhibition game next week with the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, July 29 at 4:00 PM ET. It’s rumored that the Caps will be allowed to dress an extra forward and defender for the contest, and it’ll be interesting to see if a player like Pinho or Fehervary could earn that slot for the team. The exhibition game will be televised on NBC Sports Washington and NBC Sports Network before the Caps kick off their round robin games on August 3 with a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4:00 PM ET.
It’s great to have hockey back, and it’ll give us something to tide us over until we’re back at the Giant Center in the fall.
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