BY DON SCOTT
Before the start of the regular season, Hershey head coach Spencer Carberry talked about the bizarre 2018-19 season, one that saw the Bears go from the bottom of the league in December to within a point of finishing in second place in the division, and winning the opening round of Calder Cup playoff action.
“I would call it a roller coaster season that saw us on the down swing early,” said Carberry. “But I always believed as a coach, I knew that whatever was happening on the ice as far as wins and losses, it changed nothing as far as my focus, and how I’d approach each day. That didn’t change in January from October. I believe if you do the right things, the guys buy in and you get some luck and goaltending that eventually good things will happen, and that’s very emblematic of what happened last year.”
“In the beginning last year, we were giving up way too much that put our goalies in difficult spots,” continued Carberry. “But in the same way, there were times we needed more out of them as well. Vitek (Vanecek) was pretty solid early and Ilya (Samsonov) needed a little more time. Once we cleaned up some things and they elevated their games, you saw what happened.”
He continued, “Regardless of who we get as our second goalie, in addition to Vitek, we will be in good shape. It is a very transient position because of injuries and other factors, so I’m not a big roster guy and it really comes down to whoever is here, that’s who we have. In the past few years, this organization has had numerous goaltenders that have had success at the NHL level.”
One of the not really new faces returning to the lineup this season is defenseman Erik Burgdoerfer, who spent a couple years with the Bears, and a brief period with Carberry when he was the coach for South Carolina in the ECHL.
“He is a great guy who I’m really happy to have on this team,” Carberry said with a big smile.