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Camille Scherger has given her Panthers a chance to win every game this season while playing every minute
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - To say Camille Scherger has carried a heavy workload for the UPEI Panthers is an understatement.
The sophomore goalie from Lloydminster, Alta., has played every minute for the Panthers (13-12-1) this season.
She hasn’t just occupied the crease, she’s excelled.
She has a 1.90 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
“Clearly, she’s done her job,” said head coach Bruce Donaldson. “She has given us, every evening, a chance to win a hockey game and you can’t ask for any more from a goaltender.”
This season is quite different from Scherger’s rookie campaign when she played nine games as the Megan Sullivan’s understudy.
“It was all about experience, feeling the puck and getting used to the pace,” Scherger explained. “This year, I kind of have a different role, just keeping my team in games and doing my job.”
Scherger knew this year would be different but didn't anticipate playing every game.
“That was definitely not the plan,” Donaldson said. “It’s a long haul. . . Between physically and mentally, it’s a really big ask.”
The Panthers had one of their recruits hurt prior to the season, which meant Scherger would see more action. And the netminder with a calm demeanour isn’t complaining.
“I don't really think about it too much. (I) just go in every game and give my team a chance to win,” Scherger said.
She said it is key for her to have fun at practice and take care of her body by ensuring she gets enough rest. Donaldson said it is critical for the team to support her in any way she needs and important for Scherger to know it takes a team effort to have success in a tight conference where points are hard to earn.
“We win together, and we lose together.”
Donaldson said Scherger is a team player who comes to work every day on or off the ice. She wants to be her best and help motivate those around her. But she also is a good teammate who enjoys having fun.
She regularly interviews one of her teammates and posts it to her Instagram page.
“The girls are all waiting their turn to be on Shuggs’ Corner,” Donaldson said with a smile.
It can be a long season with the women balancing athletics, education and their personal life, so avenues like the social media post is venue to have some fun.
But once the puck drops, she dialed in.
Scherger, who has worked hard with goalie coach Jamie Blanchard, is coming off her fifth shutout of the season, a 43-save effort in a 2-0 win at St. FX on Saturday.
“It was super fun. It just felt like the puck was hitting me and my defence was blocking shots and letting me see the puck,” she said.
The team’s penalty kill has been playing well of late and the power play is leading the conference at 17.4 per cent efficiency.
“When everyone is contributing, and everyone is doing their job, it makes my job a lot easier,” she said.
The Panthers have clinched a playoff spot and are looking to close out the regular season in playoff mode this weekend. They travel to Fredericton, N.B., Saturday to play the UNB Varsity Reds (13-10-4) at 2 p.m. before hosting St. FX (16-7-3) on Sunday at 2 p.m.
They will host the U Sports national championship from March 14-17.
“Not everyone gets this opportunity and we don't want to take it for granted,” Scherger said. “We want to give everyone a run for their money and show that we’re going to be a tough team to beat no matter what.”
Need to know
Who – A 19-year-old goalie from Lloydminster, Alta., who is in her second with the UPEI Panthers. She is studying kinesiology.
Nickname – Shuggs.
Goalie beginnings – Scherger is following in her father Jody’s footsteps. “My dad was actually a goalie,” she explained. She said he would always build a backyard rink when she was younger, and she has a photo with the two of them together when she was about three years old. “He had the pads on and I just fell in love then,” Scherger said. But her early hockey days saw her as a skater. It was until about peewee she found her way into the crease. “I fell in love right away.”
Discovered – The Panthers were at a tournament at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., when they met Scherger. Every coach they talked to who’s team had played against Scherger said she was the best goalie in the tournament. The Panthers followed the lead, spoke to her and had her come in for a visit and the rest is history.
Did you know? Scherger is an Edmonton Oilers fan.
Season GP W L GAA SAV%
2017-18 9 2 7 3.39 .869
2018-19 26 13 13 1.90 .930
Key statistic – Scherger has played every minute (1,575:29) for the Panthers this season.