Looking to snap out of an early-season losing streak, the Henderson Silver Knights needed a big win. Sheldon Rempal’s two-goal performance gave them just that. Bolstered by his offensive production, they emerged with a statement win over the Colorado Eagles.
It was the latest strong outing for Rempal. He leads the team in scoring this season with seven points and four goals. He also recorded seven shots on goal in three games this season, and five shots on goal in an additional two.
So, what’s working well for Rempal when it comes to offensive production?
“I just keep shooting pucks when I’m out there. I feel like I’m skating well, and seeing the ice well,” said Rempal.
“Our coaching staff has been unbelievable. The three guys we have, they’re top notch. And it’s cool to see him coming to the rink every day in such a positive manner and to teach us all the new systems. It’s been a lot of fun learning those.”
For Head Coach Manny Viveiros, Rempal’s offensive success goes beyond the introduction of a new system. His quick shot and ability to stay strong and push to the net are crucial for turning a chance into a goal.
“[Sheldon’s] got a really good sneaky quick shot that gets through, and he’s got a knack for the net. He’s not afraid to shoot the puck and if you have that type of skillset and keep putting pucks towards the net, you’re going to get rewarded. And he certainly has so far.”
The intangibles of Rempal’s game also have made positive impacts on and off the ice. One of the goals that General Manager Tim Speltz cited for the offseason was to make the team faster and bring in a more up-tempo style of play that works well within the organization’s systems. Coach Viverios sees Rempal earning success with that focus on speed and effort not only during games, but also in practice.
“Sheldon – everything he does is at full speed. There’s no resting for him. Even in practice, if you watch him, everything he does is at full speed. That’s something that we’re really excited about. And it’s so contagious – the energy, the work ethic, that he has on the ice carries over to his linemates and the rest of the team,” said Viveiros.
Rempal credits a lot of his achievements this season to being able to build off his linemates. Of his four goals this season, linemate Gage Quinney has assisted on three. Jonas Rondbjerg, who completes the Silver Knights’ top line, has an assist as well.
“I thought our line was really good with Rondbjerg and Quinney there. Quinney sees the ice really well and he has the ability to make high-end plays,” said Rempal.
“And Rondbjerg is a really solid two-way player that produces offense as well. It’s a lot of fun playing with those guys. It’s good to get the chemistry going with those guys and I’m looking forward to just keep building on that.”
And although that line chemistry has paid dividends for Rempal’s individual stats, he remains focused on building that success towards team-based results.
“It’s obviously nice to have some individual success. Right now, I think we’re trying to win some games on a consistent basis. It’d be a lot better if we could put together a streak here,” he said.
Just as Viverios credits Rempal’s intangibles as a positive to his linemates, he cites the attitude of Viveiros as an influence on his mentality every day.
“Everything that happened with Manny – just to see him on the bench and doing well and being so positive is really an eye opener. Because sometimes there’s bigger things in life than hockey. He’s a battler.”
This kind of outlook and work ethic are draws for players who want to be a part of an organization with that kind of positive outlook and direction. Rempal joined the Silver Knights as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, after a career year with the Abbotsford Canucks in which he finished in the top-10 in AHL goal-scoring and points.
“I kind of had the ability to see where I might fit into an organization. Vegas called pretty early, and I had a lot of interest in coming here, given the direction that the organization is going in. So I was all over it when my agent said they were interested. I definitely wanted to get a deal done. I’m happy I did.”
“It’s been the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in in the American Hockey League. The fans are unreal, they’re so passionate and we can’t thank them enough for their support. They really make us want to go out and fight every night for a win.