The Western Hockey League has a new shutout king, pushing a former Everett Silvertip aside.
Vancouver Giants goaltender Tyson Sexsmith broke the league’s record for career shutouts when he picked up his 22nd on Nov. 7.
“It’s a pretty nice accomplishment,” Sexsmith told the Vancouver Sun. “I get the credit, but it’s definitely a team reward. Over the years I’ve had some pretty good guys in front of me.”
Sexsmith broke the record by blanking Prince George 5-0 on 24 shots. The 19-year-old Sexsmith bested the previous mark of 21, held jointly by Everett’s Leland Irving and former Seattle and Kootenay goaltender Bryan Bridges.
Sexsmith achieved the record in a blink of the eye. He needed just 137 games to reach 22. Irving needed 215 games during his Silvertips career to achieve his total, Bridges needed 213.
Of course, Sexsmith has also had the luxury of backstopping some strong Vancouver teams. In his 17-year-old season Sexsmith was the starting goaltender for a Giants team that went on to win the Memorial Cup. Last season the Giants won 49 games en route to another B.C. Division title. This season the Giants again have the best record in the league.
And it’s not just the winning, it’s the manner of the victories. Vancouver regularly outshoots opponents by large margins. It’s not unusual for Giants opponents to be held to fewer than 20 shots in a game. Vancouver has yet to surrender 30 shots in a game this season.
Around the WHL: Vancouver became the final team to lose a game in regulation when the Giants fell to Chilliwack 3-2 last Tuesday. Vancouver was 14-0-0-3 going into the game. … The Portland Winter Hawks continued to tinker with their roster, importing 19-year-old forward and former Silvertip Jonathan Milhouse as well as 17-year-old forward Sawyer Mick from the junior A ranks, while parting ways with 20-year-old forward Matt Schmermund, 20-year-old defenseman Scott Gabriel and 18-year-old forward Ryan Anderson. The Winter Hawks now have no overagers on their roster. … Seattle received a big commitment when Texas forward Colin Jacobs signed an education contract with the team. Jacobs, a fourth-round pick in this May’s bantam draft, was considered a top-10 talent, but slipped in the draft over questions on whether he would play in the WHL. … Chilliwack forward Andy Smith was named the WHL Player of the Week. Smith had four goals and three assists as Chilliwack went 2-0-1-0.
League leaders: Points — Evander Kane (Vancouver) 37; goals — Jamie Benn (Kelowna) 20; assists — Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Vancouver) 27; penalty minutes — Ian Schultz (Calgary) 77; wins — Martin Jones (Calgary), Braden Holtby (Saskatoon) 14; goals against average — Jamie Tucker (Vancouver) 1.52; save percentage — Dustin Tokarski (Spokane) .947.