In a season marked by unprecedented turnover, it just may be a familiar face who decides how far the Fort Frances Lakers are going to go.
Emo native Jameson Shortreed has started the last four games between the pipes for the Lakers in his inaugural season of Junior ‘A’ hockey—and appears to be establishing himself as the team’s go-to guy in goal.
“I’m getting the feel for it,” Shortreed said. “It’s a big jump but it’s just something you have to get used to.
“It all just comes together after a while,” he noted.
The Grade 11 student at Fort High tended goal for the Muskies as a sophomore last season, and turned heads at last year’s all-Ontarios in North Bay with his strong play in the team’s first two games—including a near-upset of Upper Canada College in their opener before a late goal secured a 2-1 UCC win.
His numbers don’t exactly jump off the page (4.32 goals-against-average and a .903 save percentage through eight games), but he hasn’t exactly had the help in front of him, either.
Anyone searching for proof of that notion need look no further than the 136-shot barrage Shortreed faced over two games against the defending champion Fort William North Stars this past weekend at the Ice For Kids Arena.
“It took him a few games into the regular season to see what it was all about and now that he has made the adjustment, he is playing well for us,” Lakers’ head coach Wayne Strachan said.
“He has come a long way in the first month of play and needs to continue to work hard at challenging the puck, getting quicker side-to-side in his crease, and knowing when to play and not to play the puck,” Strachan added.
Shortreed’s best outing of the young SIJHL season came Oct. 11 when he stopped all 36 shots he faced in a 1-0 shutout win over the host Sioux Lookout Flyers.
“It was a pretty even game,” he recalled. “The boys played their positions and took their men.
“They had a couple chances late, but the boys stood tall and it was a good team effort.”
“It is a credit to him, at the young age of 16, to have recorded the first shutout this season in the SIJHL,” Strachan noted.
Peter Emery of the Dryden Ice Dogs posted the only other shutout thus far on Saturday night against the K&A Wolverines.
Strachan believes Shortreed has the potential to take his game to another level with continued hard work.
“He is a player with the potential to further his career at a higher level,” Strachan remarked. “As he matures and learns the game more, he will become a good goalie down the line.
“Like I have said in the past, I wish we could’ve got Jameson into a few more exhibition games to adjust to the speed, size, and strength of the junior players,” he added.