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Vanecek honored as CCM/AHL Player of the Week

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Hershey Bears goaltender Vitek Vanecek has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Dec. 18, 2016.

Vanecek had a .964 save percentage last week, stopping 53 of 55 shots in two starts (1-0-1, 0.96) and earning his third shutout of the season.

Facing the rival Lehigh Valley Phantoms on the road Friday evening, Vanecek made 31 saves in helping the Bears earn a point in a 3-2 shootout loss. Then on Sunday, Vanecek made 12 of his 22 stops in the third period and was named the game’s first star as Hershey shut out Springfield, 4-0.

In his first full AHL season, the 20-year-old Vanecek sports a record of 8-3-3 in 14 appearances with the Bears in 2016-17, ranking sixth in the league with a 1.85 goals-against average, seventh with a .930 save percentage and tied for second with three shutouts. The native of Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic, was a second-round pick by the Washington Capitals (39th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

In recognition of his achievement, Vanecek will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Bears home game.