Sports stats

 Hershey Bears

Hunter Shepard Named to 2023-24 AHL First All-Star Team

April 18, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Hershey Bears News Release

(Hershey, PA) - The American Hockey League announced today the 2023-24 AHL First and Second All-Star Teams, as voted by AHL coaches, players, and media in each of the league's 32 member cities. Among the selections to the First All-Star Team is Hershey Bears goaltender Hunter Shepard, making him just the sixth individual Bears netminder in club history to earn this distinction, and the organization's eighth overall First All-Star Team selection at the goaltender position.

Shepard, 28, has posted a record of 27-3-3 in 33 appearances this season; his 27 victories are tied for both the most among Eastern Conference goaltenders and third overall in the AHL, while helping Hershey capture its fourth Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the top team in the league, and its ninth overall first-place finish in team history. Shepard also owns the league's best goals-against average (1.75) and save percentage (.929), and has recorded five shutouts this season, tied for third in the AHL. Additionally, the goaltender has allowed one goal or fewer in 17 of his 33 starts. Shepard's 27 wins, 2,019 minutes played, 772 saves, and five shutouts all represent career-bests for him at the AHL level. Over his past six games, Shepard has gone 6-0-0 with a 0.49 goals-against average, a .980 save percentage, and three shutouts.

With one game remaining for the Bears in the 2023-24 season, Shepard's current win percentage of .864 ensures he is guaranteed to eclipse the franchise's single-season record for win percentage by a goaltender (Maxime Daigneault, .793 - 2006-07, 23-6-0). Shepard's current goals-against average of 1.75 is also in position to surpass the franchise's single-season mark of 1.98 set by Alfie Moore during the club's inaugural season in 1938-39.

The 6', 215-pound netminder made his major league debut earlier this season - and earned his first career NHL win - with the Washington Capitals in a 6-4 triumph on Oct. 25 at New Jersey. On Nov. 11 against the New York Islanders, Shepard stopped 36 of 37 shots and was named the game's First Star in a 4-1 Washington victory. In four career games with the Capitals, Shepard has a record of 2-1-1 with a 3.19 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage.

In 78 career AHL appearances, all with Hershey, Shepard has gone 55-14-8 with a 1.93 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage, and eight shutouts. Following the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, the native of Cohasset, Minn., was awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as playoff MVP after starting all 20 postseason contests for the Chocolate and White, posting a 14-6 record with a 2.27 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage, and three shutouts en route to the franchise's 12th Calder Cup championship.

Shepard has also appeared in 44 career ECHL games with the South Carolina Stingrays, going 24-15-4 with a 2.43 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage, and three shutouts. He led South Carolina to the 2021 Kelly Cup Finals in his first season in professional hockey.

Shepard originally signed an AHL contract with the Bears on June 30, 2020, following a prolific college career at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He guided the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2018 and 2019, and the netminder started an NCAA-record 115 straight games from Oct. 21, 2017 to Mar. 7, 2020 and was a two-time All-American. Shepard finished his NCAA career as a three-time finalist for the Mike Richter Award - given to the NCAA's top goaltender - and a three-time All-NCHC selection.

Prior to his collegiate career, Shepard appeared in 81 games with Bismarck Bobcats of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) from 2014-15 through 2015-16. In 2015-16, Shepard earned North American Hockey League Goaltender of the Year honors, was named to the First All-Star Team and led the NAHL in games played (50), wins (34), and shutouts (8), while ranking second in goals against average (1.90).

It is the eighth time that a Bears goaltender has been named to the AHL's First All-Star Team, with Shepard joining Nick Damore (1943-44, 1944-45, 1945-46), Andre Gill (1966-67), Ron Hextall (1985-86), Wendell Young (1987-88), and Jean-François Labbé (1996-97). Shepard is the first Bear to be named to a First All-Star Team since forward Chris Bourque earned the honor in the 2015-16 campaign.

The complete 2023-24 AHL First and Second All-Star Teams are as follows:

AHL First All-Star Team:

Goaltender - Hunter Shepard, Hershey Bears (33 GP, 27-3-3, 1.75 GAA, .929 SV%, 5 SO)

Defenseman - Kyle Capobianco, Manitoba Moose (68 GP, 12-40-52, +29, 6 PPG, 1 SHG)

Defenseman - Brad Hunt, Colorado Eagles (70 GP, 16-33-49, +3, 5 PPG)

Forward - Mavrik Bourque, Texas Stars (69 GP, 26-49-75, 4 PPG, 1 SHG, 2 GWG)

Forward - Adam Gaudette, Springfield Thunderbirds (65 GP, 44-25-69, +10, 15 PPG, 7 GWG)

Forward - Logan Stankoven, Texas Stars (47 GP, 24-33-57, +9, 6 PPG, 3 GWG)

AHL Second All-Star Team:

Goaltender - Joel Blomqvist, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (44 GP, 25-11-6, 2.14 GAA, .921 SV%, 1 SO)

Defenseman - Jake Christiansen, Cleveland Monsters (59 GP, 13-30-43, +6, 4 PPG)

Defenseman - Brandt Clarke, Ontario Reign (48 GP, 10-34-44, 3 PPG)

Forward - Samuel Fagemo, Ontario Reign (49 GP, 42-18-60, +9, 19 PPG, 10 GWG)

Forward - Trey Fix-Wolansky, Cleveland Monsters (55 GP, 24-34-58, +17, 3 PPG, 5 GWG)

Forward - Rocco Grimaldi, Chicago Wolves (69 GP, 34-36-70, 10 PPG, 2 SHG, 6 GWG)

Each player will receive a custom-designed crystal award in recognition of his selection to the 2023-24 AHL First and Second All-Star Teams.

• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...

American Hockey League Stories from April 18, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central