Schneider earns second star

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Cory Schneider hopes this was simply the start of something big.

The Vancouver Canucks blue-chip prospect was tapped on the shoulder to make his first National Hockey League start on Saturday night against the Calgary Flames. Although the end result was a 3-1 loss, Schneider played well and turned aside 28 shots and was named the second star of the contest.

"I've learned a lot and I've come a long way," Schneider said in a telephone interview from Columbus, Ga., yesterday afternoon. "At the beginning of last year, if you had told me I'd be in this situation, I don't know if I would have agreed with you.

"It's been exciting, it's been fun and I feel like I'm learning something new every day. That's the fun part. I know I can still get better and do more at this level. Hopefully, it's the first of many (NHL starts), but I'm just trying to enjoy it for now."

Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault let Schneider know during Saturday's morning skate that he was getting the nod in goal and the youngster did his best to keep his emotions in check until the opening puck was dropped.

"It was probably a good thing I didn't know too far in advance, so I didn't have too much time to worry about it," said Schneider, who was recalled from the Manitoba Moose after Roberto Luongo went down with a groin injury.

"There was a little nervous excitement, but I went about my normal routine, got to the rink and did the same thing I always do.

"It was definitely one of the more exciting times of my life."

Schneider was the picture of calm as the game got going and it didn't take long for him to be introduced to one of the NHL's top snipers, Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

GOOD WAY TO START

"I figured they'd be coming at me pretty early, trying to test me and throw pucks at the net," said Schneider, who was 10-1 with the Moose when he was summoned by the parent club.

"The puck came to Iginla right in front and that was a good way to get right into the game."

The Canucks continue a seven-game road trip tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets and while Schneider doesn't know when he'll see his next game action, he'll be ready for it.

"If I get to play again, I have to be better and learn from my mistakes," said Schneider. "But I thought I played well and established that I could play at this level."


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