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Morgan, Mingus lead West Sound to the top

12/05/2013, 4:45pm EST
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

Jimmy Morgan has been piling up goals.

Peter Mingus has been filling up the assist column.

Together, the West Sound line mates have climbed to the top of the Northern Pacific Hockey League scoring race and lifted the Warriors to first place in the standings.

“We had some good chemistry right off the bat,” said Morgan, the NPHL goals leader with 24 in 17 games, including a hat trick in the team’s most recent game, his third straight four-point effort in a 7-4 win over the second-place Bellingham Blaze. “We’re similar players.”

The stat sheet currently says differently, giving the impression of two distinctly different styles. While Morgan has the goals, Mingus has 41 assists among this league-leading 50 points.

Both players and head coach/general manager Jay Miller expect those numbers to even out as the season goes on.

“He’s just moving it to me and I have the hot stick right now,” Morgan said. “He’s kind of had a bum wrist and hand.”

Mingus has assists in all 17 games he has played and multiple assists in 13 games.

“Pete’s been playing kind of hurt,” Miller said. “He has an injury that’s really affected his shot, so he’s been kind of relegated to that playmaker status.

“Both should have equal goals and assists based on the styles that they both play, but Pete has taken on that playmaker role a little bit more than he would. He has the ability to score a ton more goals. I’m going to chalk it up to that injury, so hopefully that changes here in the next couple of weeks.”

Mingus, a 20-year-old from Eugene, Ore., returned to the United States last season after playing in Canada. He joined the Bremerton, Wash.-based Warriors during the season and immediately became one of the leaders on a second-year franchise that went from missing the playoffs in 2011-12 to winning the regular-season title in 2012-13.

“I found that the team needed some leadership and some direction to where the team needed to be,” said Mingus, who is now the oldest player on the roster. “We had a pretty good team skill-wise. I just felt like the guys really weren’t meshing together.

“Basically, I wanted to bring whatever I could with as much effort as possible and that helped me to get more ice time. I just fit in by working hard and showing the team I’m here to play as hard as I can.”

Mingus showed his goal-scoring ability with 11, along with 13 assists, in 15 regular-season games. He added five goals and five assists in eight playoff games, serving as the top postseason scorer before the season ended in disappointment with a championship series loss to Bellingham.

Morgan joined on this season. The Highlands Ranch, Colo. resident had been playing in the Littleton Hawks program. Miller said Morgan, who recently celebrated his 19th birthday, has the possibility of moving up a higher league soon.

“I’m happy with my choice,” said Morgan, who in addition to his goals is tied for third in the NPHL with 22 assists for second place overall with 46 points. “We’re just kind of trying to keep it going right now.”

With Mingus and Morgan leading the way, the Warriors are 16-1-0-1 for a one-point advantage over the Blaze (16-5-0-0) with three games in hand. Although Bellingham is responsible for both West Sound losses, the Warriors have a 4-2 lead in the season series with the latest victory.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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