Shipley shaping up for IceDogs

Steven Shipley had a nice weekend for the Niagara IceDogs, ending a recent offensive drought with a three-point Friday and a game-winning goal the next night. After arriving in Saint Catharines via pre-season trade with Owen Sound, the 6'2 center-turned-wing has endured some early ups and downs but looks to have his game moving in the right direction.

I've talked about the need for Shipley to compete harder and move his feet, for doing this consistently could see him achieve the 85 point barrier. He's below that projected clip at that moment, but he's surrounded by a talented squad that is likely a year away from being serious contenders for the OHL crown.

The Standard put a little piece together following Shipley's weekend performance and talks about progress being made:

"He's moving his feet a lot more and concentrating on some of things we want him to do, and it's really paying off for him."

One of those things that Williamson and the IceDogs coaching staff wants to see more of is his shot. A natural centre turned winger this season, Shipley is known for his playmaking abilities.

"I moved him from centre to the wing, and Ship likes to make plays," Williamson said. I want him to shoot a lot more. I want him to get the puck to the net and use that shot of his."

Shipley admitted the shift from centre to the wing hasn't been easy.

"I played centre for most of my first two years in the league, so it has been a bit of an adjustment," said Shipley, who now has 23 points in 26 game. "When you've got great linemates like Strome and Freddie, they find you out there.

"I think the biggest thing for me is keeping my feet moving. I'm a bigger guy (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and I can't get caught flat-footed. The Sabres have told that my speed and quickness are the things I have to work on the most as well."

I've seen some uninspired hockey at times this season from the talented forward, but the story is far from written here as he is not up for review until spring 2012. For now though, the only expectation is that we see a sharper Shipley moving forward.
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