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Souto having month to remember, Blazers best T-Birds
October 2012 was JC Lipon's month.
One year later, Chase Souto is doing his best to emulate his former Kamloops Blazers' teammate.
"A lot of people don't know this but, back in bantam and midget, I could score," Souto told KTW with a wry smile after the Blazers downed the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-1 at Interior Savings Centre on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
"I just decided this is the year that I have to step up."
Lipon's totals from last October — or Liptober, as Blazer Nation began calling it — were astronomical and Souto stands little or no chance of catching him, but the forward from Yorba Linda, Calif., is having a dandy of a month, nonetheless.
The 19-year-old has seven goals in his last five games, including one in the victory over Seattle, to go along with one assist.
Lipon had nine goals in October by this time last year and he would go on to score 16 in the month. He notched 40 points in 13 October games.
The Regina product was drafted in June by the Winnipeg Jets and is playing for their American Hockey League affiliate, the St. John's IceCaps.
He has one goal after four games with the AHL club.
Meanwhile, Souto is finding his groove.
The Blazer forward streaked in alone on Seattle's netminder late in the second period, his sweat-soaked curly locks bouncing of his namebar as he dangled goalward.
Minutes earlier, he opted not to shoot on a 2-on-1, dishing instead to a teammate, but the pass was broken up.
This time, he had no choice.
Souto flipped a wrister over Justin Myles' left pad to give the Blazers a two-goal cushion they would not relinquish.
"Actually, a bit of my flow was dangling over my eye there," Souto said.
"It was tough to see, but it went in."
Tim Bozon scored the home team's other two goals — both of them displaying his high-end skillset.
The Montreal Canadiens draft pick pounced on a loose puck halfway through the first period and made no mistake on a breakaway, opening Myles' legs with a deke to the right before sliding a backhand through the wickets.
That goal tied the game 1-1, with the Thunderbirds having scored first when Shea Theodore blew a slap shot past Blazer netminder Bolton Pouliot at 3:13 of the first frame.
Bozon's second came at 15:47 of Period 2. He opted to fire on goal on a 2-on-1, wiring a wrist shot over Myles' blocker
The Blue and Orange killed off four third-period Thunderbirds' power plays on the way to victory.
Kamloops associate coach Mark Ferner was complimentary of the team's effort after the game, praising the work rate of his charges.
There were bodies lining up to block shots, just ask Swiss import defenceman Edson Harlacher, who felt the full brunt of a Seattle howitzer seconds after forward Tyson Ness had done the same.
Aaron Macklin was a workhorse, like so many other of his teammates on the night.
Pouliot is starting to make a case for the starting job between the Blazers' pipes. He stopped 31 shots and picked up the win, which moved Kamloops' record to 4-7.
Seattle dropped to 8-3.
Some Blazer fans on Twitter are offering new nicknames for October, such as Soutober, and the suggestions will continue to pour in if the pace continues.
Souto is content to let the fans do the talking while he prepares for a road trip to Vancouver, where the Blazers and Giants will renew acquaintances on Friday, Oct. 18.
"I'm not going to complain with the way I'm playing," he said.
"It's just good to get another two points in front of the fans on home ice."