It’s been a long road of recovery for Guelph Storm sniper Nate Schnarr.
The Waterloo native had surgery on his right shoulder last April and didn’t see his first taste of competitive hockey since then until Friday, when he suited up for the first time this season.
On Saturday he looked right at home, scoring twice in a 5-2 victory over the Kitchener Rangers at the Sleeman Centre.
It’s always sweet for Schnarr to score against his hometown team.
“Ever since I can remember I had season tickets up in the corner watching those guys, so being able to get two against them here in Guelph is almost indescribable. It’s a great feeling,” said Schnarr, 18.
The Arizona Coyotes third round pick was a little apprehensive his first game, given how long he had been out and how serious the injury was.
But it didn’t take long to get in the swing of things.
“First shift (Friday) I just tried to test the shoulder and lay a couple of body checks. It felt really good and felt strong out there. I’m excited to see what happens this season.”
He said he realizes it won’t all come back in an instant.
“It’s pretty tough. I’ve still got a lot of things to work on,” he said.
“(Friday) I was struggling a bit with the timing. I was focusing a lot on what I was trying to do with the puck instead of trying to read the play,” he said.
“Today I could focus more on where my linemates were and try to analyze the situation a little bit more.”
Schnarr’s first goal on Saturday came just 15 seconds into Saturday’s contest and his second five minutes later as the Storm jumped out to a 3-0 lead over their Highway 7 rivals by the 5:16 mark of the Second period.
The Rangers battled back and it was a one-goal game until late in the third period, when Cedric Ralph made it 4-2 after some dogged work by the team’s fourth line in the Rangers end.
“We’re able to role four lines this year and I think that’s a credit to what we’ve created in the dressing room,” said Schnarr. “We’re able to run four lines the whole game and I thought in the third period today we looked good.”
Cam Hillis iced it with an empty net tally, his first OHL goal.
Keegan Stevenson got his first OHL point, an assist on Ralph’s goal.
Zach Poirier and Ryan Merkley each had two assists for Guelph.
Guelph will play at Flint on Wednesday then host the Niagara Ice Dogs on Friday.