Net worth increases

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

When you give up two goals and your average goes up instead of down, you know you're off to a good start.

Welcome to the world of Manitoba Moose goalie Cory Schneider, who is blossoming before your very eyes in his second season as a pro.

Through 15 games of the American Hockey League campaign, Schneider has a 9-1 record , a goals against average of 1.30 and a save percentage of .948.

"It's a great feeling when you know that if you score two goals, it's usually enough to win a hockey game with Schneider in net," said Moose forward Jason Jaffray. "It's a string of confidence that pushes us through the game when you know you have him back there."

After struggling through the first few months of his rookie season, Schneider picked things up down the stretch and was the starting goalie in the post-season.

Schneider has elevated his game since that strong finish.

"He's outstanding," said Jaffray. "To see what he's done from the beginning of last year to right now is absolutely remarkable."

When Schneider arrived in training camp with the Vancouver Canucks, he announced he was determined to prove last year's strong finish was no fluke.

After dropping his first start in a goalie's duel with Marc Denis of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Schneider has reeled off nine consecutive victories.

IN BETTER SHAPE

"It's just being mentally ready every night," said Schneider. "Last year I had lapses where I gave up some bad goals. Now I come in prepared and knowing what to expect. My goal is to be good every game, not up and down."

Schneider arrived this season in better shape and seems to be square to the puck on every shot.

"My lateral movement has really improved since the start of last year -- I've learned how quickly you have to get to spots," said Schneider, who was drafted 26th overall by the Canucks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. "It's just all clicking right now. Guys are making some good plays with pucks laying in the crease. Overall, I'm tracking the puck really well and finding it through traffic."

Head coach Scott Arniel said before the season Schneider would have to earn his starts and he certainly has.

"He wanted to take the ball and run with it and he's really stepping up right now," said Arniel. "He really wants that net and he wants to be in there all the time. When he plays like he does, it's not a hard decision throwing him back in there. He was a first round draft pick for a reason and he's showing people he can play."

Arniel said Schneider's work habits have been on display daily.

"Obviously, he's really confident right now, but it starts in practice," said Arniel. "He's a big goaltender and he's very athletic. One of the issues with him for the first half of last year were that some of his habits weren't the best for pro hockey. That's the one area where he's really turned it around.

"He doesn't like to be scored on in practice and that carries over into games."


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