HERSHEY, Pa. — Washington Capitals prospect Alex Alexeyev, who is playing for the Hershey Bears, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, took at least three unpenalized dives Sunday, all of them into a pile of stuffed animals.

The toys were the result of Hershey’s annual “Teddy Bear Toss” promotion in which fans donate plush toys for local schools and charities by throwing them onto the ice after the Bears’ first goal. Alexeyev said the event was a step up from his playing days in the Western Hockey League.

“In Red Deer, they threw the toques on the ice, the winter hat,” the defenseman said after Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win against the Hartford Wolf Pack, during which the Bears collected 45,650 stuffed animals to donate to local schools and charities. “It was the same thing. Instead of bears, they throw the hat.”

The 20-year-old Russian, whom the Capitals picked 31st overall in the 2018 draft, is playing his first season in the American Hockey League, where the Caps are keeping a close eye on his development.

“I have pretty good start, and I keep it going, just every day getting better, you know. Just stay consistent, and everything will be good,” he said.

Alexeyev has a goal and nine assists in 23 games this season for Hershey.

“He has a ton of talent,” Bears Coach Spencer Carbery said. “You’ll see flashes of it. And now we’re just trying to help him build in consistency, so when he gets to the National Hockey League that it’s not going to waver — good play, bad play, good play, bad play. It’s going to be consistently good play, good reads, good closes.”

Alexeyev, one of several Russians in the Capitals’ organization, has at least one advantage over his countrymen at similar stages of development: His English is remarkably good, mainly because he had been playing in North America for a few years before being drafted.

“I play for three years in Canada, and for two years, we didn’t have any Russians on my team, so I had to learn it somehow to speak with the other guys to understand the whole system,” he said.

His lessons included watching television shows. “I watched lots of shows in English," he said. " ‘Game of Thrones’ … I watched ‘Riverdale’. That’s pretty much all.”

The Bears, meanwhile, are making the most of having Alexeyev on the team.

“He’s playing a ton of minutes, which is good for development,” Carbery said. “He’s getting thrown into a lot of situations, power play, PK, five-on-five, overtime, last minutes of games, but it’s also going to be a process. He’s a young player. He has good nights, he has good stretches, and he has learning experiences, is what I call them. He’ll just continue to grow, learn from them, and we’ll continue to work with him.”