Phillips, Walker, Shepard named award winners for November

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Calgary Wranglers forward Matthew Phillips, Iowa Wild forward Sammy Walker and Hershey Bears goaltender Hunter Shepard have been selected as the league’s award winners for November.

Phillips, the AHL Player of the Month, scored nine goals and added nine assists for 18 points in 12 games for Calgary during November.

Phillips scored the winning goal with 1:35 to play in the Wranglers’ 3-2 victory over Tucson on Nov. 4, and paced the Calgary offense with a hat trick in an 8-2 win over San Jose on Nov. 6. His goal in a 4-0 win over the Barracuda two nights later ran his scoring streak to eight games, and he finished the month with a six-game streak, beginning with two assists in a 5-1 win at Bakersfield on Nov. 18. He scored the game-winner in the rematch with Bakersfield on Nov. 19, and picked up a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win over Coachella Valley on Nov. 22. Phillips then had back-to-back three-point games against Abbotsford, including a two-goal night on Nov. 25 and a career-high three assists on Nov. 27.

Phillips leads the AHL in scoring with 26 points and is tied for the league lead with 13 goals in 18 games for the Wranglers. The 24-year-old Calgary native is in his fifth pro season and has totaled 80 goals and 107 assists for 187 points in 217 AHL games with Calgary and Stockton, setting career highs with 31 goals and 68 points in 2021-22. A sixth-round pick by the Flames in the 2016 NHL Draft, Phillips has played one game in the NHL, making his debut on May 19, 2021, vs. Vancouver.

Walker, the AHL Rookie of the Month, notched five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 12 games for Iowa during November.

Walker began the month by notching two assists in the Wild’s 6-3 win over Grand Rapids on Nov. 3, and he came back with a shorthanded goal the following night to help Iowa earn a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Griffins. On Nov. 6 at Rockford, Walker had three assists – including two in the final 1:51 of regulation – and scored the decisive shootout goal to lift Iowa to a 5-4 win. He scored goals in wins at Chicago on Nov. 12 and Nov. 20, and tallied power-play markers on back-to-back nights as the Wild closed out the month with a pair of wins at San Jose on Nov. 29 and 30.

Walker leads all AHL rookies in scoring this season with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 18 games for Iowa. A native of Edina, Minn., Walker signed with the Minnesota Wild on Aug. 18, 2022, following his senior season at the University of Minnesota, where he was a three-year captain and helped the Gophers to the Frozen Four in 2022.

Shepard, the AHL Goaltender of the Month, went 6-0-0 during six starts in November, stopping 147 of 157 shots to record a 1.63 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage for Hershey.

Shepard helped the Bears climb to the top of the AHL standings with his perfect month, beginning with a 30-save performance in a 4-3 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Nov. 6. He then allowed only one goal in each of his next four starts, including 2-1 victories over Bridgeport (27 saves) on Nov. 12, at Springfield (26 saves) on Nov. 23, and at Hartford (30 saves) on Nov. 25. He ran his personal winning streak to six games by backstopping Hershey to a 4-3 shootout win over the Penguins on Nov. 29.

In eight appearances with the Bears this season, Shepard has a record of 6-0-2 and ranks second in the AHL with a 1.83 goals-against average and third with a .932 save percentage. The native of Cohasset, Minn., is 14-3-2 in 20 games with Hershey over three pro seasons, with a 1.80 GAA, a .934 save percentage and three shutouts. Shepard played four seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, winning national championships in 2018 and 2019, and signed as a free agent with the Washington Capitals on July 28, 2021.