HERSHEY, Pa. – The personnel issues of the Hershey Bears over the past month have been well documented. Missing key players like Brian Pinho and Mike Vecchione due to injury and forwards Beck Malenstyn, Mike Sgarbossa, Brett Leason, and Aliaksei Protas to recall with the Washington Capitals, leaving a massive void in scoring and presenting a big challenge for the Chocolate and White. In the midst of such roster turmoil, one player has done it all and then some for the Bears in that time: Joe Snively.
Snively is on pace to exceed his AHL best in scoring after a remarkable series of games that’s seen him take over the team lead in scoring. After posting three assists in nine games, Snively came through for the Bears in a big way on November 7 by tallying his second AHL hat trick in a big win over the Springfield Thunderbirds. Since then, those last eight games have been nothing short of phenomenal, tallying 14 points including seven goals that’s helped Hershey in such difficult times with their roster. With two assists in Hershey’s loss to the Rochester Americans, Snively has equaled his total output from the 2020-21 season in 13 fewer games played, and is now on pace to eclipse his 24 points in 45 games during the 2019-20 season.
It’s important to note that Snively’s production has the benefit of variety in addition to volume, scoring three power play goals as well as Hershey’s first shorthanded goal of the season during the Bears’ 4-3 overtime decision on Thanksgiving Eve. Snively’s scoring streak includes three games with three points, and two more games with two points. His production sits him just seven points back of his single season best, and has two game winning goals to boot. The statistics keep looking better when considering he has seven points in his last three games.
— Bears Hockey Nation (@HBHNationBlog) November 25, 2021
It couldn’t have come at a better time for Hershey, who has spent time without the aforementioned players as well as significant time without Garrett Pilon and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby over this recent stretch. Suddenly, Snively has been relied on in more situations and at key times, and his chemistry with both Pilon and Sgarbossa has made him a fixture on the top line despite the varying configurations. Most recently, Sgarbossa and Malenstyn were recalled in exchange for the assignment of Pilon and Jonsson-Fjallby, and the swap didn’t impact the Bears as much as it might have in other situations due to Snively’s flexibility.
Now, with the Bears currently off for the next few days with a pair of games postponed due to COVID-19 concerns surrounding the team, Hershey will also hope that their NHL affiliate in Washington can continue to get healthy in order to get some semblance of that strong opening night lineup that helped get the team off to a 3-1-0-0 start back in October. Having Snively as one of the team’s top scorers when that happens will make Hershey perhaps an even bigger offensive threat when that time comes, and combined with their recent offensive depth is an interesting proposition.
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