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Playing the Hits


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New York (AP) -- Heading into the season, New York Americans rookie defenseman Lance Flowers had modest expectations for his personal stats. Despite being the second pick in the VHL Draft, he knew he didn't have the experience of other defensemen, and especially on a young New York team, it'd be tough to stand out league-wide. If he could sneak onto a top ten list by the end of the season, that'd be the mark of a season well done.


Instead, how Flowers has produced has surpassed even his expectations. Through 40 games of the season, Flowers currently stands just outside the top 10 in assists, 9th among defensemen in points, 3rd in shots blocked, and the killer, tied for the league lead in total hits. In that category, he's alongside the properly named Sven Hitz with 154, or an average of almost 4 per game. It's easy to believe he'll finish the season in the top 3 in the category, as 4th place Leph Twinger is a full 20 hits behind.


Some would point out that a high hits and shots blocked total isn't necessarily a great thing - that could mean more time with the opponents having the puck, after all. But for Flowers, it's a representation of what his goal was entering the season: Establishing himself as a defensive blue line presence that can be a pest for other teams to deal with.


"I've been all over the ice, and it feels good," Flowers said after the team's recent win over Seattle. "Not only are we in the playoff hunt, but I'm doing well personally. I know it might all fall off in the second half - I've only played one season this long - but I'm riding the wave while it's here. At the very least, it's nice that some people are already learning my name when I'm only a rookie."

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