Nikita Kucherov wasn’t the only member of the Lightning organization to have a strong month of March. On Wednesday, Peter Schneider of the Kalamazoo Wings was named the CCM/ECHL Player of the month. He is the first K-Wing to receive the honor since Curtis Valk in October of 2014.
In the month of March Kalamazoo went 10-4 to earn a spot in the playoffs. Schneider was a huge part of that as he recorded points in 13 of those 14 games (Toledo was the only team to hold him off the scoresheet, an auspicious omen for their upcoming first round matchup). All told the Austrian native had 22 points (13 goals and 9 assists) in the month.
Schneider, in his second full season in the league, started the season with the Florida Everblades. He was part of the three-team deal in November that also brought Blake Kessel to the K-Wings. Coach Nick Bootland was looking to make his struggling team faster on the ice and Schneider fit the bill.
“When we were looking into Peter during the three-team trade, we were made very aware about his speed and puck-protecting abilities. We battled some early stumbles out of the gate in October and November, so to have an immediate injection of speed and energy certainly helped us as we improved into a playoff team.”
After scoring 3 goals in his first 9 games with Kalamazoo, Schneider went into a bit of goal scoring drought. He scored on December 18th against Quad City and then wouldn’t find the back of the net until almost 2 months later when he scored a shorthanded goal against his former team, the Indy Fuel, on February 11th. Schneider was determined to end the streak that night as he fired 13 shots on net in the K-Wings 4-3 victory.
Since then he has steadily racked up the points. Schneider’s 46 points is third on the K-Wings behind Lane Scheidl’s 47 and Justin Taylor’s 59. Currently he has a 12-game point streak going and has put up 7 points in his last two outings (4 goals and 3 assists).
Coach Bootland has nothing but praise for the 26-year-old, telling Raw Charge:
“He does a great job complimenting Cam Darcy and Lane Scheidl on a line by providing a combination of speed, touch and grit. We knew he showed great promise judging by the numbers he put up as a rookie in Indy last year, and we're very fortunate that he has vastly exceeded those.”
The emergence of the Schneider/Scheidl/Darcy line has given Kalamazoo another potent line that helps balance out the Taylor line. With a first round matchup against the high-scoring Toledo Walleye, the K-Wings will need all the offense they can find.