HERSHEY, PA – Your team gains control of the puck and immediately play is whistled dead. The orange armband clad referee with his arm raised.  An uneasy feeling for any coach who now comes to the realization his team must skate down a man for at least two minutes.  For Troy Mann, however, he’s got an ace up his sleeve perfect for this situation.  His name is Jeremy Langlois.

The Hershey Bears penalty killing unit has not finished within the top five in the Eastern Conference since 2014-15 when they led the league at over 87%. Last season, the Bears finished seventh in the conference at 82.3%. It was enough to help Hershey fight its way into the playoffs but the unit fell below all three divisional opponents that made the playoffs above them.  Looking to improve, Langlois was brought in on a professional tryout prior to the start of the season.

While his offensive production has been a little slow, the 27-year-old has quietly become Hershey’s best penalty killer. Langlois offers a triple threat of faceoff prowess, extremely sound positioning, and speed. It’s a penalty killing trifecta that threatens any opposing power play unit. He now has five shorthanded goals in his ECHL/AHL career.

Positioning and Awareness

The above image was taken from November 5th when Hershey visited the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  In the game, the Penguins were afforded six power play opportunities but went 0-for-6.  In the image, the Penguins have carried the puck into the Bears zone while on a power play.  Three of the four Hershey penalty killers have dangerously drawn to the puck leaving two players potentially wide open.  Langlois (#12) had the presence of mind to remain on the weak side to lock down the two attackers.

Once again from the Penguins power play, this play we see Jonas Siegenthaler attempting to step up on the attacker.  He misses but Langlois is right there and smartly jumps on the attacker causing him to lose the puck so Siegenthaler can swoop in and clear.

Speed, Aggression, and Finish

Jeremy has shown he’s not afraid to use his speed and jump on the opposition.  When he was a member of the San Jose Barracuda in 2015-16, he made the Texas Stars look silly on their power play as seen below. Check out that turn and fire on the goal.

During that same season, as you’ll see below, he burned the Stockton Heat power play with his blazing speed.

The Tempe, Arizona native, speaking with Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant back in 2013, credited the development of his speed and positioning play to playing roller hockey back home in Arizona.

“There’s no offsides in roller hockey. It’s more wide-open, a lot of speed and skating. There’s no checking. So a lot of it is positioning and being in the right position to stop people because you can’t use your body,” said Langlois.

While Langlois’ role as a penalty killer might go unnoticed for some due to his low point total so far, it has not escaped the attention of his coach who spoke about him to the media after a recent game against Syracuse.

“I’m a big fan of Langers…He adds that speed (and) arguably our best penalty killer overall. He’s been a big part of that and our penalty kill has been excellent this year,” said Bears head coach Troy Mann.

His efforts have also made a real impression on his fellow teammates.

Chris Bourque came to me and said he loved playing with him.  Obviously, because of the speed factor and (how), he’s able to create to create turnovers,” said Mann.

Jeremy has had plenty of chances to master his craft this year as only Springfield has been shorthanded (100 Times Shorthanded) more times than the Bears (95 TSH). Looking at what Langlois has done and is capable of on the penalty kill it should come as no surprise to see the Bears slot in at number three in the conference on the PK at 84.2% despite the high volume of penalties.  Only Wilkes-Barre has a better percentage (85.2%) in the tight Atlantic Division though they have played one fewer game than the Bears.  While Langlois hasn’t done it all by himself for assistant coach Reid Cashman‘s penalty kill, it’s clear he is their best weapon.

As a coach, you would prefer your team to stay out of the box for the full game.  That’s nearly impossible these days so it pays to have somebody you can trust on the ice down a man, or two.  Fortunately for the Hershey Bears brass, they have a Jeremy Langlois.

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