Hershey Bears goalie wins AHL’s outstanding goaltender award

HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – Hershey Bears goaltender Hunter Shepard was announced as the recipient of Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award winner for the AHL outstanding goaltender for the 2023-24 season.

Shepard is the fourth goalie in Hershey’s history to win the award, joining Wendell Young (1987-88), Frédéric Chabot (1993-94) and Jean-François Labbé (1996-97).

Shepard was 27-4-3 across 34 appearances for the Bears this season. The 28-year-old led the league with a 1.76 goals-against average, which is the lowest in Hershey’s history and fifth-lowest ever in the AHL.

Shepard boasted a .929 save percentage and executed five shutouts, helping lead Hershey to be crowned the AHL’s regular season champions. In 17 of Shepard’s 34 starts, he allowed just one goal.

Shepard was named to the 2023-34 AHL All-Star Team and secured the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award with Clay Stevenson this season as the two combined for a league-low 2.10 goals per game.

Hershey Bears goalies win Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award

The netminder’s .838 win percentage this season set a new single-season record in Hershey history, a number that is also the second-highest in AHL history.

Shepard made his NHL debut this season, recording his first career NHL win when he helped the Washington Capitals to a 6-4 victory on Oct. 25 in New Jersey. Shepard appeared again in net for Washington on Nov. 11 against the New York Islanders, where he stopped 36 of 37 shots and earned the game’s First Star in the 4-1 victory.

Across four career games with the Capitals Shepard is 2-1-1 with a 3.19 GAA and a .894 save percentage.

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Shepard has played in 79 AHL games, all with Hershey, owning a 55-15-8 career record with a 1.94 GAA and a .925 save percentage. Shepard holds the top career marks in the latter two stats for the franchise. The Cohasset, Minnesota native was crowned the playoff MVP after he guided the Bears to their 12th Calder Cup, appearing in every postseason game.

The Hershey Bears will play in the Atlantic Division Semifinals next after receiving a bye for the first round of the 2024 Calder Cup playoffs. Their opponent, the dates and times have not yet been determined.

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