Jarrod Schamerhorn wasn’t expected to be the starting netminder for the Vernon Vipers coming into the B.C. Hockey League season.
However, two separate injuries and a six-game suspension to incumbent net detective Danny Todosychuk have left the 19-year-old Kelowna native carrying the load.
The 20-year-old Todosychuk was supposed to start Wednesday night against the Prince George Spruce Kings at the Coliseum, but he got run over by a teammate in a pre-game skate. In stepped Schamerhorn, who recorded 23 saves for his first career BCHL shutout in 30 games as Vernon blanked the Sprucies 3-0 in front of 1,000 fans.
“It was kind of shocking to me,” said Vipers’ head coach Mark Ferner, when he realized Wednesday was Schamerhorn’s first shutout.
One thing that didn’t surprise Ferner was Schamerhorn’s ability to fill the starter’s role.
“That was never a question in my eyes,” he added.
The Vipers, now 11-6-1-1, entertain the Penticton Vees (17-3-0-1) tonight at Kal Tire Place. Penticton lost its last two games of a Vancouver Island road swing last weekend.
The Victoria Grizzlies (8-6-0-3) visit the Big Wheel Sunday at 2 p.m.
Schamerhorn wasn’t all that busy Wednesday as Vernon controlled most of the play, especially in the second period when they outshot the Sprucies 19-6, and 39-23 overall.
“The kids played hard, they played simple,” said Ferner. “In the offensive zone they played a good puck possession game and the dee moved the puck well. Our guys are starting to support the puck a lot better.”
Vernon recorded their first two goals on the rush, with TJ Dumonceaux converting a feed from Anthony Latina 11:26 into period one.
Luke Shiplo, who has nine points in his last nine games, fired his first of the season as he buried a top-shelf backhander, assisted by Jagger Williamson, in the second frame.
The 19-year-old d-man from Oakville, Ont. was named first star and is really starting to become an offensive threat on Vernon’s back end.
“It took him awhile with the broken hand (suffered in camp), especially when you’re a new player,” said Ferner. “Obviously, he’s feeling a lot more comfortable.”
Shiplo drew an assist on Liam Finlay’s insurance goal late in the third period when the speedy forward pounced on Shiplo’s rebound with 2:59 to play.
SNAKE BITES: Forward Thomas Aldworth missed the Prince George trip to deal with a minor injury. The Kellen, Tex. product is expected to play tonight…Injured forward Mackenzie Bauer isn’t expected to return until mid-December…Energy forward Riley Brandt earned two minors in his return from a six-game suspension.