It was an eventful Saturday night in Bathurst, N.B. for a couple of Newfoundlanders, as the Titan ran roughshod by an 11-1 count over the Halifax Mooseheads in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game.
Eventful in that Titan goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick of St. John’s was knocked from the game in the first period after taking a hit to the head, while Mooseheads rookie Kyle Petten of Bay Roberts collected his first career QMJHL goal.
First to Fitzpatrick. The goalie who now lives in Lower Sackville, N.S., traded to Bathurst from the Sherbrooke Phoenix earlier this month, faced only six shots in the first period when he was pulled at 13:22 after highly-touted Halifax forward Filip Zadina collided with the Titan goalie.
Zadina was given a check to the head major and game misconduct. Fitzpatrick was replaced by Joseph Murdaca.
Fitzpatrick has not experienced any concussion-like symptoms, but is suffering some discomfort in the neck area. However, he might be ready to go when Bathurst plays host to the Saint John Sea Dogs Friday night.
A second round draft pick, 59th overall, by the St. Louis Blues in 2016, Fitzpatrick is a combined 12-11-3-1 with Bathurst and Sherbrooke this season, with a 3.33 goals against average and .878 save percentage.
He is in his fourth QMJHL season after being a 2014 first-round pick of Sherbrooke.
Fitzpatrick is one of four Newfoundlanders on the Titan, joining Jordan Maher of Gander (14G-22A-36PTS), overager Adam Holwell of St. John’s (8-25-33) and newcomber Zack Bennett (0-1-1), acquired in a trade from the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
A 10-goal loss certainly isn’t anything to celebrate, but Petten must have been feeling a bit of relief, and perhaps even joy after getting his first major junior goal against the Titan in his 27th career game.
Petten was drafted by the Mooseheads in the sixth round, 95th overall, in the QMJHL midget draft last June.
“Kyle’s a kid who comes to the rink every day and works hard,” Halifax coach Jim Midgley said. “He’s in and out of the lineup but works really hard off the ice and does what he’s asked. It’s nice to see him get rewarded with his first major junior league goal. It’s a big deal for him.”
Third-year Mooseheads forward Joel Bishop from St. John’s missed Saturday’s game, his second straight, following a cut from a skate last Wednesday.
Bishop has five goals and 10 assists in 44 games this season.
In other news, NHL Central Scouting released its 2018 mid-term rankings Monday for the 2018 NHL Draft, and two Newfoundlanders appear on the list.
Labrador City’s Matthew Grouchy is ranked 174th of 217 North American skaters. Grouchy, a 6-1, 174-pound winger with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, has 12 goals and 13 assists in 42 games. Grouchy started the season with the Charlottetown Islanders.
It should be noted the Central Scouting rankings do not include European players, or goalies.
Barrie Colts forward Andrei Svechnikov is the top-ranked player, while Zadina is No. 2. London Knights defenceman Evan Bouchard is the third-ranked player.
The other Newfoundlander on the list is Fitzpatrick’s younger brother and fellow goalie Lucas Fitzpatrick of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes.
Fitzpatrick, 6-1 and 210 pounds, is the 20th-ranked goalie of the 31 listed, all North Americans. He is 4-13 for last-place Shawinigan, with a 3.92 GAA and .882 save percentage.
Fitzpatrick, originally from Mount Pearl, was drafted in the second round, 35th overall, by the Remparts in 2016. He was traded to the Cataractes last year.
NOTES: Defenceman Ian Smallwood of St. John’s scored his first goal of the season Friday night, but it wasn’t enough as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles fell 5-4 to the Mooseheads in Sydney. Smallwood has eight points in 22 games for the Screaming Eagles this season since being acquired from the Saint John Sea Dogs … Since scoring a pair of goals and assisting on another in Halifax on Jan. 11, 16-year-old St. John’s native Brett Budgell of the Charlottetown Islanders has gone five games without a point. The Islanders lost 6-3 to the Mooseheads in that game, and Budgell was the second star. Budgell had four goals and two assists in his first four QMJHL games since joining Charlottetown from the USHL’s Chicago Steel …