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CHL Game Night: 11-8-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Baie-Comeau Drakkar 2 @ Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 4

C/W Gabriel Fortier, BC: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 7/17 FO, 2 Hits
Season Totals: 20 GP, 8-15-23, +13, 9 PIM
17-18 Totals: 66 GP, 26-33-59, -11, 59 PIM

In a match-up against the high-powered Huskies, Baie-Comeau fell behind 2-0 and 4-1 before crawling back to 4-2 early in the third. That would be the closest they’d get against Nikita Kucherov’s former team. Rouyn-Noranda is the top-ranked QMJHL team in the CHL Top 10, coming in at No. 3. The Drakkar are No. 6, one spot behind fellow Q club Moncton. Thursday was a good test for Baie-Comeau, and one that no doubt provided several teaching points for coaches.

CIBC Canada Russia Series (Sarnia, Ontario)

Team OHL 3 vs Russia 1

C/W Alexey Lipanov, RUS: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 4/11 FO
Season Totals (KIT): 12 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 8 PIM
17-18 Totals (BAR, SBY): 55 GP, 14-25-39, -14, 10 PIM

Team OHL outplayed Team Russia in the first game of the CIBC Canada Russia Series pitting top OHL players against Russian selects. Lipanov failed to impress, as reported by Raw Charge, in his only game for Russia in the series. He will not play in Russia’s second game against the OHL.

Lipanov is an interesting case. When he was drafted, our collective prediction was that if he could move to the CHL he would have the chance to put up a lot of points and increase his chances of eventually starting his pro career in a prominent role. Everything was on track as he was over a point-per-game with Barrie before he was traded to a struggling Sudbury side. That’s when things went south. It’s tough to play for a struggling team, but there are plenty of NHL stars who have made the big leagues coming out of struggling programs. They found a way to drive play regardless.

Lipanov, per reports, is playing well in a secondary role this year – now with Kitchener after another trade. The Lightning have already signed him, which was a bit of a head scratcher as he didn’t seem like a slam dunk pro at the time and there was plenty of time for a decision to be made. However, there may have been more at play such as an invitation to go back home and the Lightning wanted him to remain in North America (though the contract wouldn’t kick in until his pro career started). He seems a bit lost at the moment and doesn’t possess the confidence or swagger he had when entering CHL play. There’s plenty of time, but missing out on both Canada-Russia games (he wasn't chosen for both) and potentially being left off the WJC roster could be big. Time will tell.