He sparks the flame

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:18 PM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- In the pay-your-dues world of junior hockey, Stephen Dixon should have become a bigger piece of the puzzle. Considering Dixon was part of last year's silver-medal winning team, this year's event was supposed to be his chance to lend more offensive support to the task at hand.

To step from the shadows.

Instead, the 19-year-old from Halifax is in the same spot as last year's tournament.

Dixon, who plays for the QMJHL's Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, is on the fourth line with Colin Fraser and Clarke MacArthur. Their job is to provide spark and energy.

Kill some penalties, too.

But Dixon won't complain about playing behind Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Jeff Carter and Hitmen stars Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd.

"Just having the chance to come here two years in a row is a big honour," said Dixon. "This year, we're going out there, working hard and spending time on the PK. It's been a great time."

Dixon's role doesn't mean much time in the spotlight but he's quickly earned the respect of his teammates, especially his linemates who both hail from the WHL.

That's because Dixon has melded perfectly with the game MacArthur and Fraser play.

Dixon may come from the QMJHL but, unlike Bergeron and Crosby, he's not a dangling, dipsy-doodling skater who provides coast-to-coast rushes.

He has some offensive skill, having collected 14 goals and 20 assists in 31 games this season for the Screaming Eagles, but he's concerned about ensuring goals don't happen at the other end of the rink.

Good thing, because he's the only forward to have played all four games but not collect a single point.

"I'm just out there trying to play my game and if I get some points, it's a plus," said Dixon, who collected one assist at last year's tournament. "Here, I have to look after things in our own end.

"It's a totally different role but whatever you can do to put the jersey on and be part of it, you do."


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