A dream season for Shannon Szabados keeps getting better. With wins over Huntsville and Knoxville, Szabados was named the SPHL Player of the Week for the second time this season.
In her two victories, Szabados, who plays for the SPHL’s Columbus Cottonmouths, posted a 1.00 goals-against average and monster .970 save percentage. In Tuesday game against Huntsville, Szabados stopped 34 of the 35 shots she faced and turned aside 16 of 17 attempts Friday against Knoxville.
With the victories, Szabados improved her record to 15-8-1, which gives her the seventh most wins in the SPHL. She also extended her run of wins to eight straight. Of goaltenders to play in at least 20 games this season, Szabados ranks ninth with a .910 SP and 15th with a GAA of 3.04. According to the SPHL, during her current run she has improved her numbers to a 2.25 GAA and .932 SP.
Szabados’ two victories – and eight straight, for that matter – have helped the Cottonmouths keep pace with the SPHL leading Peoria Rivermen who sit four points up on Columbus. The Cottonmouths do, however, have a game in hand.
The two-time Canadian Olympic gold medal winning netminder joined the Cottonmouths last season. Though she started two games, she failed to pick up a win in either, registering a 3.55 GAA and .894 SP. However, this season she has found her game in the men’s minor professional league, starting 23 games and splitting starting duties with Andrew Loewen.
Szabados’ play has helped break down a number of boundaries for women to play men’s hockey. She became the first woman to play Canadian Junior ‘A’ hockey when she suited up for the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders, the first woman to play in a WHL game when she stepped between the pipes for the Tri-City Americans and her two-game stint last season was the first for a woman in the SPHL.
If Szabados’ recent improvement is any sign, she’s only getting better as she goes along. She’s already become the first woman to win a game in the SPHL. If Loewen falters down the stretch, there’s a very real possibility she’ll become the first woman to win an SPHL playoff game, too.