By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Chase Souto says he isn’t much of a goal scorer.
That being the case, who was that visored guy wearing No. 21 for Team Blue on Sunday night?
Yes, it was Souto and, yes, he scored three times and set up another to spark Team Blue to a 5-4 victory over Team White as things began to get serious in the Kamloops Blazers training camp at the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre.
The Blazers are starting to get down in numbers after opening with 101 players on Friday. They cut to 61 players following Saturday’s action, and trimmed three more Sunday .
“It was pretty fun,” Souto said of his first go-round in a scrimmage that included 10 players off last season’s WHL team. “There was a really fast pace. The passes were a lot harder.”
Souto, who doesn’t turn 16 until Oct. 8, and his side trailed 3-1and 4-2 before the native of Yorba Linda, Calif., scored twice to tie it. He also was on the ice when veteran centre Dalibor Bortnak scored the winner. Bortnak also had two helpers.
“I like to work hard, finish my hits,” said the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Souto, who was a fifth-round pick by the Blazers in the 2010 bantam draft. “Every once in a while I might show an offensive touch.”
Any more performances like last night’s and he may have to change his resumé.
He opened the scoring by banging home a rebound in the crease, cut Blue’s deficit to 4-3 from in tight again, and tied the score off the ensuing faceoff by skating down the right side and firing the puck past goaltender Scott Lapp.
Souto would have had four goals had Lapp not made a solid pad stop shortly after the hat-trick goal.
Still, Souto denied being a sniper.
“No,” he said, with a grin, “I’m more of, like, a . . . not a playmaker . . . a grinder.”
Craig Bonner, the Blazers’ general manager, said that Matt Recchi, the club’s director of player personnel, and Warren Renden, one of its scouts, first identified Souto as a prospect.
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“He plays hard; he’s an in-your-face guy,” said Bonner, who got a good look at Souto during the WHL’s April prospects camp in Anaheim.
Bonner wasn’t reluctant to compare Souto to Kelowna Rockets forward Mitchell (Dirty Harry) Callahan, a native of Whittier, Calif., who has 74 points and 353 penalty minutes in 142 regular-season games. Oh, the 19-year-old Callahan also has signed with the Detroit Red Wings, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL draft.
As a matter of fact, Souto knows Callahan “pretty well,” so doesn’t mind the comparison. “That’s a good one,” Souto said, adding that “I was trying to get into a scrap tonight but I couldn’t get one going.”
Souto got an extra kick out of last night’s scrimmage because his younger brother, Cole, was on his team. Cole won’t turn 15 until Dec. 27.
“We don’t play together a lot,” Chase said. “We skate together in pickup games and stuff like that.”
Chase started skating at the age of two. He said his father, Craig, was a surfer until an ear infection brought those days to a screeching halt. A friend of Craig’s from work got him interested in hockey, Chase got a taste for it and, as he said, “I just grew a real love for the game.”
Being from California, he knows a lot of the ex-Blazers who hail from there, guys like C.J. Stretch and Ray Macias, and defenceman Brandon Underwood, who is preparing for a third season here.
Souto knows there is a long way to go in this camp, but he would like nothing better than to follow in their strides.
“I don’t know (if I’ll make it), but I’m hoping I can,” he said. “If they ask me to stay, I’ll stay.”
JUST NOTES: Veteran C Chase Schaber, who almost certainly will be the team captain this season, may have been the best player on the ice Sunday evening. D Corey Fienhage was no slouch, either. . . . F Matt Needham, the Blazers’ first-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft, had a goal and three assists in Team Blue’s 8-4 victory over Team Black on Saturday morning. F Cole Ully, a second-round pick in 2010, had three goals for Blue, giving him five in two games. . . . Later, F Diego Cuglietta, who is from Kamloops, scored twice and set up another as Team Orange beat Team White, 5-4. . . . Scores, scorers and goaltenders from the weekend scrimmages all are in Scoreboard. . . . F Matt McLeod of Saskatoon, a fifth-round pick in 2010, and F Mackenzie Ferner of Vernon, an eighth-round pick in 2010, had their camps end with shoulder strains. . . . F Clayton Chingee of Prince George, F Connor Bebb of Dallas, Texas, and Ferner were reassigned Sunday. . . . F Brandon Morley of Burnaby, a third-round pick in 2009, didn’t skate Sunday because of an abdomen injury, but he is expected back on the ice today.
Team Blue 5, Team White 4 — Blue: F Chase Souto 3, D Brady Gaudet, F Dalibor Bortnak; White: F Lyndon Martell, F Matthew Needham, D Brandon Underwood, F Shawn Mueller. Goal (shots-saves) — Blue: Troy Trombley (13-10), Taran Kozun (12-11); White: Blake Alexander (10-9), Scott Lapp (15-12).
Team Blue 8, Team Black 4 — Blue: Cole Ully (Calgary) 3, D Jeffrey Ness (Humboldt, Sask.), F Matt Needham (Penticton), D Kyle Bird (Regina), F Brandon Volpe (Port Coquitlam), D Tyson Harvey (Nanaimo); Goal: Brandon Painter (Port Coquitlam), 13-12; Scott Lapp (Surrey), 18-15. Black: F Brandon Morley (Burnaby), F Andrew Klukas (South Delta), F Connor Bebb (Dallas, Texas), F Evan Ingram (Olds, Alta.). Goal: Brok Terrill (Moosomin, Sask.), 19-14; Devon Pearson (Vernon), 16-13.
Team Orange 5, Team White 4 — Orange: F Diego Cuglietta (Kamloops) 2, F Chase Souto (Yorba Linda, Calif.), F Aspen Sterzer (Canal Flats), F Dylan Grant (Victoria); Goal: Nathan Warren (Prince George), 15-12; Blake Alexander (Lethbridge), 13-12. White: F Dylan Frey (Weyburn, Sask.), F Logan McVeigh (Kenaston, Sask.), F Jake Latin (Kamloops), F Riley Hunt (Revelstoke). Goal: Braden Krogfoss (Cloverdale), 15-15; Ty Hamer-Jackson (Kamloops), 20-15.
Team Orange 10, Team Blue 2 — Orange: F Conner Richards (Armstrong) 2, F Devin Oakes (Prince Rupert) 2, F Connor Kidd (Calgary), F Chase Souto (Yorba Linda, Calif.), F Kale Lapointe (Red Deer), F James Veitch (Creston), F Jonathan Zdan (Lethbridge), F Aspen Sterzer (Canal Flats); Goal: Blake Alexander (Lethbridge), 15-14; Nathan Warren (Prince George), 17-16. Blue: F Brandon Volpe (Port Coquitlam), F Jody Sick (Red Deer); Goal: Scott Lapp (Surrey), 19-15; Brandon Painter (Port Coquitlam), 22-16.
Team White 4, Team Black 3 — White: F Logan McVeigh (Kenaston, Sask.) 2, F Mitchell Schwark (Saskatoon), F Riley Hunt (Revelstoke); Goal: Ty Hamer-Jackson (Kamloops), 18-15; Braden Krogfoss (Cloverdale), 14-14. Black: F Connor Bebb (Dallas, Texas), F Tre Potskin (Prince George), F Evan Ingram (Olds, Alta.); Goal: Devon Pearson (Vernon), 17-15; Brok Terrill (Moosomin, Sask.), 14-12.