Carter Camper has spent all but three of his 348 professional games in the AHL, and the 27-year-old center has carved out quite the niche for himself in the NHL-affiliated league. And in his fifth season in the AHL, Camper is seeing some post-season success as a member of one of the league's most famous teams, the Hershey Bears.
Camper came into Sunday night’s Game 7 against the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins riding one of the best point streaks of the season, and it couldn’t come at a more crucial time. From Game 2 onward, Camper had picked up at least a point in each contest while helping the Bears push the series to a seventh game. Late in the second period, Camper extended his point streak and put Hershey ahead with some slick moves.
After breaking into the Penguins’ zone, Camper cut to the middle of the ice with winger Riley Barber driving the Wilkes-Barre defense back by pushing towards the Penguins’ net. Following Barber, Camper dipped into the middle of the zone before slipping the puck to his backhand and going around Wilkes-Barre blueliner Jean-Sebastien Dea to get one-on-one with Penguins netminder Casey DeSmith. Camper made his partial breakaway look easy:
That’s a video game quality goal and a marker that nearly put the Bears ahead for good. Less than four minutes into the third period, though, the Penguins tied the contest, and Game 7 wouldn’t be decided until Hershey’s Travis Boyd scored in overtime to send the Bears to the AHL’s Eastern Conference final.
For Camper, the goal was his fourth of the playoffs and ninth point in 12 games this post-season. It’s a great time for him to start heating up, too, after what was the worst full professional season of his AHL career. In 64 games, Camper scored nine goals and 34 points, but that’s well below his career average of .71 points per game. Over his 328 career regular season games, Camper has 65 goals and 234 points.
The next game of the post-season will be the deepest Camper has ever been in the playoffs, and the Bears will hope the six-game point streak he’s riding will continue when either the Albany Devils or Toronto Marlies advance to take on the Bears in the conference final.