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Morelli Thriving in Opportunity With Hershey

Hershey Bears forward Mason Morelli has jumped at the chance to prove he belongs in the AHL full time

Morelli Thriving in Opportunity With Hershey

HERSHEY, Pa. – Among the players who have found themselves with more playing time and bigger roles in the AHL, Hershey Bears forward Mason Morelli has jumped at the chance to prove he belongs in the AHL full-time. The versatile forward has already eclipsed previous AHL bests in points and is coming off his best single-game effort last Wednesday night with four points (one goal, three assists) in Hershey’s 6-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Morelli’s contributions to his team have helped minimize key personnel losses over the past two months, and he earned several wins in his second season in The Sweetest Place on Earth.

Morelli has had to be patient in seizing his opportunity in Hershey. Signed to an AHL contract before the start of the 2020-21 season, Morelli waited in the wings at times with just four games played in February and March that season before the irregular nature of that season landed him the opportunity to get into the lineup regularly. Morelli chipped in five assists, was plus-eight in 15 games, and was very close to burying a number of goals during that span. The Bears re-signed Morelli to return to the team this past offseason, and similarly to the year prior, Morelli had to wait to get into the team’s lineup for action.

It was not quite as long of a wait this time, as he suited up for the Bears on October 27 for the first time this season as Hershey saw a number of players from opening night get called up to the Washington Capitals or go down with injuries, which not only got him into the lineup full time but also move up to some of the top units in addition to special teams work. It all came full circle on November 24 when Morelli netted his first goal in a Hershey uniform, a crucial overtime winner against the Providence Bruins, a memorable tally that had to be reviewed and had a great reaction from his teammates and the fans at Giant Center.

Morelli followed up that great performance a couple of days later, getting his second with the Bears in a loss to the Rochester Americans on the road. Unfortunately, this would be Hershey’s last game for a couple of weeks due to a COVID-related shutdown that kept the team off the ice until December 11. Morelli would chip in a couple more points, including another goal in Hershey’s 8-3 beatdown of Wilkes-Barre on December 18.

Wednesday evening’s game at Giant Center saw him strike for his fourth goal on a great individual effort, stripping the puck from a Penguins defender and burying his own rebound for a very key goal to extend the Bears’ lead to three goals. Morelli was selected as the game’s first star for the first time, and it was a well-deserved spotlight for his play.

The success for Morelli is a strong reflection of the organizational skill in Hershey, starting with the coaching staff led by Scott Allen for creating the environment and extending to the scouting and acquisition by Hershey’s Vice President of Hockey Operations Bryan Helmer along with Washington’s staff.

Depth is an important element in the American Hockey League, which is currently on display with teams searching for as much depth talent as possible. It extends to players on professional tryout agreements like Ryan Dmowski, who scored a goal in his fifth straight game, and it’s the kind of contributions that help the Bears continue to earn points towards a playoff spot in the spring.

Morelli gets another chance to prove himself tomorrow night as they host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a mid-week clash. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

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