Oooooh that's right.
It gets worse.
As mentionned before, shadows are an object's aspect when not "excited" by light (which produces species). Thus, they can be created and affected indirectly by affecting light, but that's all: You can alter light so as to produce shadows, not create shadows under the light, and a focus in Shadows (darkness) is in fact akin to a focus in light, only with PeIg effects instead of CrIg effects (both have ReIg and all, that's just the main difference).
To answer to Exarkun, we CAN have shadows without light. It's just that they're everywhere, and thus undistinguishable from each other. Total darkness is just everything being non-excited by light, thus everything being black.
For "scientific" reasons related to invisibility, it has become my belief that a non-excited object emits species (yes, I'm changing my PoW since my earlier post). Black species, which are shadows. This explain the various states of darkness, as a patch of ground is more or less excited by light, and thus more or less dark. The black color is just something that either can't be excited, or lacks other kind of species generators. Something which lacks species generator (like air) is just invisible.
Thus, shadows can be produced and controlled by both Ignem (by affecting light) or imaginem (by creating black species). But they can't be affected by Muto.
To have this "non-excited" state move and take form is ludicrous, since it's just an object's non-excited appearance: Shadows have no reality "per se". It'd be just like saying that an item's invisibility can take a form and attack you.
Even if we say Shadows are not black species, it gets harder to manipulate, since they become akin to how we consider someone's looks, and it'd be like having someone's skin color take a third dimension and attack things.
Does this means such effects are impossible? No. You just gotta think outside the box.
Have a PeIg spell (or a PeCo spell, or...) designed just as normal, and then have the special effect be "the character's shadow comes to life and strikes him with its icy touch (PeIg) / Inflicts terrible wounds (PeCo)". Just like a CrIg spell can be a conflagration, a fireball, a flame arrow... This has the nice effect of being perfectly RAW, and solving your damage question.
Of course, your player won't be able to apply his focus to it (unless you're the kind of GM who applies wolf focus to wolf-shaped fireballs). Is it really a problem? It is (or should be) a minor focus, after all. And has this is a simpler effect, with less requisites and all, he may not be a loser after all.
You should look at Magi of Hermes, also, as one magus there has a very similar focus (darkness).
Nothing stops you to later introduct "living shadows", on which his focus will be usable, but these won't be your normal shadows, will require either a breakthrough or a virtue, and will be summoned by Rego.
And a wrong one.
I seem to recall it is stated somewhere that hermetic magic isn't universal, and can't affect everything, which is one of the interests of seekers of knowledge: to perfect Hermetic Theory.
Even then, there are some things it can't affect. Like Time (which exists in ME). And maybe humors. And mutoing Species. And Regio. There are things in all "non-hermetic magic" supplements that can't be affected, or at least easily, by hermetic magic.
Note also that being able to affect something indirectly does not mean you can affect it entirely, shadows and species being a good exemple of it.