ECHL: Jacksonville’s Matt Vernon Named Goaltender of the Week

Andrew Fielder for Inside The RInk

The vibes continue to trend in a better direction for the Jacksonville Icemen. After dealing with a tumultuous start to the month of November, undergoing dramatic roster changes, and struggling to find wins on home ice, the team needed to bounce back before the calendar turned to December. The resilient response to their setbacks earned the Icemen three wins in their last four games, with two of those victories being on their own ice. Icemen goaltender Matt Vernon was in net for two of those three wins. Vernon’s performance earned him the honors of being named the ECHL Goaltender of the Week, continuing the team’s recent trend of positive traction.

Vernon made two starts in net last week for Jacksonville. The first start came on the road, as the Icemen took on the Atlanta Gladiators on Tuesday, November 21st. Heading into Tuesday night’s game, the team had previously lost their last four games, one of those losses a product of the Gladiators’ doing. Vernon stopped 24 of 25 shots during the weeknight match-up, helping to secure a 3-1 win and breaking the Icemen’s losing skid.

The second appearance of the week for Vernon came at home on Friday, November 24th. In need of some good luck in familiar territory, the Icemen fought for an overtime win against the contending Kelly Cup Champion Florida Everblades. Vernon looked in full control of the crease in the 2-1 OT win, not buckling under the weight of the Everblades offensive onslaught. The Icemen netminder made 33 saves on 34 shots and picked up the first star of the night honors. 

Making 57 saves on the 59 total shots he faced, Vernon ended the week with a .966 save percentage and a goals-against average of just 0.96. The incredible 2-0 performance culminated with Vernon being awarded the title of ECHL Goaltender of the Week for the week of November 20th-26th.

Matt Vernon is one of two Icemen goalies with five or more starts this season, appearing in six games through the first 15 of the season. Vernon’s performance in those six games has been dominant, as he currently possesses a 4-2 record in net. His 2.33 goals-against average is the best among the trio of Icemen goaltenders and is tied for sixth best in the league. Additionally, his .916 save percentage is also tied for the 10th best league-wide. Vernon’s overall performance in the crease so far has been good enough to land him in the seventh-place spot in the league’s goaltending leaders category.

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is a freelance hockey reporter covering the ECHL's Jacksonville Icemen for Inside The Rink and the Vancouver Canucks for The Canuck Way. His work has been featured on Hockey of Tomorrow and The Daily Faceoff, and can be found on Twitter/X @FromTheDrewLine.

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