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ver the plate too many times." - zgr123 - 07-17-2017

TORONTO – Joe Hicketts cant wipe the smile off his face. Growing up you always watch this tournament and one day you dream of playing in it and now the dream has become a reality, the Victoria Royals defenceman said on Saturday morning just hours after his spot on Team Canada was officially confirmed. He spent a good chunk of Friday night and Saturday morning on the phone with loved ones. It was exciting, the Kamloops, B.C. native said. I talked to friends, grandparents, my mom, dad, brother and they were all happy for me. Obviously, they believed in me the whole time, but to finally make this step, well, its huge. As recently as this summer, Hicketts could never have imagined hed be spending the holidays at the World Junior Hockey Championship. There always was that question in my mind of whether this was possible, said Hicketts, who at 5-foot-8 is Canadas shortest defenceman. Obviously, size was the biggest factor earlier in my career, especially at age 16 and 17. With getting injured last year (in October) and missing that extended period of time and then getting passed over in the draft, I didnt think this year would be an option for world juniors. Thats right, every NHL team passed on Hicketts last June after he posted six goals and 18 assists in 36 games. A torn tendon in his arm had limited his production and sent his draft stock plummeting leading to a heart-to-heart conversation with Victoria head coach Dave Lowry in early June. I tried to explain to him that it might be in his best interest to not to get drafted this year, as hard as it is on draft day to be sitting there and not being a part of it, it might be the best thing career-wise, said Lowry, who is an assistant coach on Team Canada. Did Hicketts buy what his coach was selling? Not really, he said with a chuckle. It was probably the worst conversation, but the best one at the same time. From that point on, Hicketts resolved that the only way to get himself back on track was to work. And work. And work. The biggest thing was I had to get back in the gym right after the draft, the 18-year-old said. I wanted to be the hardest working player for the rest of the summer. The gym wasnt his second home, it was where he lived. He lost weight (around 15 pounds) and body fat. He wasnt invited by Hockey Canada to the summer camp for world-junior hopefuls, but he just kept working. And Lowry, by the way, turned out to be right about the draft. After getting passed over, Hicketts was invited to the Detroit Red Wings development camp in Traverse City in July and fared well. Then he got to go to the teams prospects tournament in September and once again stood out earning a three-year entry-level contract. Having the option to go to Detroit was exciting for me, Hicketts said. Theyre known for developing their players and not worrying too much about where theyre drafted or if they are drafted at all. The hard work continued to pay off at the start of the current season and when Hicketts departed for Team Canadas selection camp he led all CHL defencemen in scoring with 38 points in 31 games. He understands, said Lowry. I think hes a realist. He keeps everything in perspective. What stands out most about Hicketts? Just his determination and his understanding that you have to get better every day. I think, with him, hes a resilient player. Curtis Lazar agrees. The Ottawa Senators forward, recently loaned to the Canadian junior team, got to go up against Hicketts during his days with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Well, I mean, hes a small, little guy, but people underestimate him, said Lazar. Hes shifty out there. Hes crafty with the puck. Before he got hurt last season I thought he was one of the best defencemen in our league, Lowry added noting that Hicketts represented Canada at the under-18 level at both the Ivan Hlinka tournament and world championship. Hicketts is now a key piece of the Canadian defence as the country looks to snap a five year gold medal drought at the world juniors. The group only boasts one right-handed defenceman (Capitals prospect Madison Bowey), but Hicketts, a lefty, has played the right side for awhile in Victoria. But what Canada head coach Benoit Groulx likes the most about Hicketts is his never-say-die attitude. You need that in a tournament like this: guys who have confidence in themselves and know even though theyre not the biggest or the fastest, they know that they belong in the tournament and they believe in themselves, Groulx said. Hicketts has always been a smart player. Thats how he doesnt just survive, but thrives in spite of his diminutive stature. And it seems like he has a good idea of what he needs to do to be successful at the world-junior level. I want to play fast and physical, but I want to jump in the rush as well, he said. I think you saw in the game against Russia on Friday that a lot of offence comes from the back end at this tournament and for me its going to be about managing the neutral zone and the defensive zone so I can maximize my time in the offensive zone. Considering the comeback campaign hes waged, it would be easy for Hicketts to relax a bit now. He was asked on Saturday if he thinks hes finally silenced the talk about his size being an impediment to success. Maybe, Hicketts pauses for a moment before a smile spreads across his face and he starts to laugh. But, I cant stop now! Hicketts keeps laughing before adding, Gotta keep going. Alvaro Morata Jersey . 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So Duval gutted it out Thursday at the Byron Nelson Championship despite the pain from a muscle issue in his right elbow, a day after his stepson had to drive him because he couldnt even use that arm.HOUSTON - The Los Angeles Angels finally showed off their high-powered offence to win their first game of the season. Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun all homered to help the Los Angeles Angels get their first win of the season with an 11-1 rout of the Houston Astros. After being swept in a three-game series against Seattle to begin the season and scoring just eight runs over the three games, the Angels equaled that in the first six innings Friday. "I think with a game like this, hopefully, we build confidence," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Hopefully, on the offensive side we build confidence." Trout hit a solo homer in the first inning and Hamilton hit a three-run drive in the sixth off Jerome Williams that made it 8-1. After Erick Aybars RBI single, Calhoun added a two-run shot off Williams in the seventh. "As competitors, five out of eight games, we are capable of doing something like that," Hamilton said. "The talent is there. We dont go out and try to do that every day. We go out and have the at bats we are going to have. Thats contagious. Thats the mentality we have." Trout also threw out Marc Krauss at the plate in the second inning to keep the Astros off the scoreboard. Garrett Richards (1-0) allowed one run on three hits with five walks and seven strikeouts in five innings. "Its not just me, its all of us," Trout said. "It just happens that I got a home run, but look at Josh tonight. . We just have to keep pushing together, and we pitched well tonight with Garrett getting out of some battles and jams." Lucas Harrell ((0-1) was roughed up for five runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in three innings.dddddddddddd "With a lineup like that, they have so many good hitters you cant leave the ball over the plate like that," Harrell said. "You go from one hitter to the next, and there is no let-up. Thats why they are so good. You have to execute your pitches every time. I just left it over the plate too many times." Jose Altuve had two hits and a bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning. The Astros loaded the bases in the fifth and sixth innings but were only able to get the one run as Richards struck out Krauss to end the fifth and Fernando Salas struck out Marwin Gonzalez and induced an Alex Presley ground out to end the sixth. NOTES: Astros outfielder Dexter Fowler was out of the lineup and not at the park because of a stomach illness. Fowler was in the hospital with the stomach issue and having tests run, Porter said after the game, and Porter said he would have more details Saturday. Through three games, Fowler is hitting .500 with a home run and three RBIs. He recorded his third consecutive multi-hit game Thursday night. ... Houston catcher Jason Castro was out with a bruise on his right foot but said he feels much better on Friday. Castro is day to day. ... Aybar picked up his 900th career hit with the single in the seventh. He became the third Angels shortstop to reach that mark joining Jim Fregosi and Gary DiSarcina. ... Houston will send left-hander Dallas Keuchel to the mound against Los Angeles left-hander Tyler Skaggs in the second game of the four-game series. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '