Sitting outside of a playoff spot in the American Hockey League’s Pacific division on the morning of Monday, November 12, Stockton has since won three in a row behind the stellar play of 21-year-old goaltender, Nick Schneider.
Schneider finished this past week 3-0 with a 1.25 GAA and a .960 SV%.
An unlikely spark plug for the Flames top affiliate. Not because of a lack of talent, but rather due to an overload of goaltending prospects in Stockton.
Following an upper body injury to Tyler Parsons, Schneider was recalled to Stockton to back up Jon Gillies. Schneider started his first full pro season last month in the ECHL with the Kansas City Mavericks, posting a 2-1 record in four games with a 2.72 GAA and a .907 SV%.
Schneider came in to replace Gillies in the third period of last Tuesday night’s game in Colorado. Schneider would stop all five shots in the third period and overtime to earn the win as Stockton skated to an impressive 5-4 overtime victory against the Colorado Eagles. Schneider would get the start the following night and pick up his second win in as many nights, behind 33 saves on 35 shots.
The first year pro was not done yet. After a long travel day on Thursday, Schneider once again got the call in goal on Friday over the injured Gillies and stopped 32 of 33 shots to ignite Stockton’s longest win streak of the season.
“He has been really good. Really happy for him. He is calm in net. Making big saves for us,” said Heat Head Coach, Cail MacLean following Friday’s 3-1 win over Tucson. “He was able to fight through the goal they scored earlier in the game and able to make big saves and endear himself to his teammates. He has done a really great job.”
Not much separated Stockton and Tucson on Friday night. The deciding factor, and the game’s number one star, was rewarded in a celebration that really stood out to MacLean.
“The guys looked like they were sprinting to him at the end [of the game]. Credit to him. He is a great team guy and he is playing well,” said MacLean. The guys know that tonight he was the difference in the game. We felt like it was a really important game tonight so they have a lot of gratitude for him.”
The win streak for Stockton and Schneider all started on the road, where seemingly all the big character wins have happened this year. The Heat have five of their eight wins on the road, including two separate two-goal comebacks in road buildings. The words resilience and determination continue to emerge as early season themes for Stockton.
With their backs against the wall down 4-3 after two periods it was Nick Schneider who was thrown into the fire, but Schneider didn’t seem to mind the pressure. Not an easy spot for any goaltender to be thrown into, but especially for the young Schneider.
His presence back in net is a calming one, even for a poised veteran like Curtis Lazar. “Schneids is great. He’s a competitor and he’s come in here and worked at it. We obviously wanted to put on a show in front of him but he made some big stops for us,” said Lazar.