No. 1 star: Jake Paterson, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
One man made the game, others decided it.
For 59 minutes and 59 seconds, Paterson stymied the London Knights and nearly helped the Spirit steal a series-tying win. It took two goals from NHL first-rounder to be Bo Horvat, the first on a deflection and the other on a last-second scramble that was wilder than Costco on Sunday afternoon, for the Knights to force overtime. Horvat's goal went in with 0.3 seconds on the clock. Another half-second, and Paterson would have performed the minor miracle.
The Detroit Red Wings pick got even better in overtime, finishing with 67 saves before San Jose Sharks prospect Chris Tierney scored on a low snapshot in the 90th minute to give the Knights a 3-2 win and 2-0 series lead. What more could Paterson have done?
The Mississauga, Ont., native responded as expected after a rocky loss in the opener. Paterson signalled early on that the Knights, for all their scoring punch with Horvat, Max Domi and Seth Griffith, et al., were going to be hard-pressed to get anything past him. His effect was such that it made Philadelphia Flyers-drafted goalie Anthony Stolarz (41 saves) dial it up to 11. Stolarz stopped back-to-back breakaways in the second period, made several reflex saves and also robbed Justin Kea in the first OT.
Just imagine. These two could be reprise their rivalry when Canada and the U.S. face off at the 2014 world junior championship in Malmö, Sweden. Raise a Carlsberg to that thought.
Dear Hockey Canada, if anyone other than Jake Paterson starts for Canada in the World Juniors next year, I won't know what to think.
— Lucas Punkari (@lpunkari) March 24, 2013
I still feel like Jake Paterson is going to find a way to steal a game before this series is over. Almost like Houser vs Owen Sound in 2011.
— Andrew Evans (@EvansXFM) March 24, 2013
Horvat was a justifiable No. 1 star choice inside Budweiser Gardens. This game was Paterson's, regardless of London getting the W.
No. 2 star: Luke Philp, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Philp (1G-1A, +2) was the OT hero for the Ice, who beat the Dub's defending champion Edmonton Oil Kings 2-1 to tie up the Eastern Conference series 1-1.
The Ice were hammered 9-zip in the series opener and had lost nine games in a row at Rexall Place, including two contests during a four-game sweep in the 2012 playoffs. Philp had an assist when Brock Montgomery broke a scoreless deadlock with 9:26 left, but the lead lasted only 87 seconds before New York Rangers prospect Michael St. Croix tied the game. Kootenay seemed to be hanging on by a fingernail. Goalie Mackenzie Skapski hung in, making 47 saves, including a left-pad stop on Edgars Kulda.
Kootenay's only recorded shot before Philp's winner was a dribbler that barely reached Oil Kings goalie Laurent Brossoit (24 saves). However, Jakub Prochazka, on his first shift of the OT, pressured the Oil Kings into a bad first pass. Off the turnover, Philp beat Brossoit on a nonchalant-looking play. It was a big goal for the 17-year-old, who had 45 points this season and is eligible for the 2014 NHL draft.
No. 3 star: Tyson Teichmann, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
The Belleville Bulls' quondam starting goalie is now their chief nemesis. Teichmann kept the eighth-seeded Bulls at bay while matching saves with Malcolm Subban, who beat him out of the starting job in the Friendly City, to keep the desperate Steelheads in the series. His 31-save effort paid off when rookie Josh Burnside scored his first OHL playoff goal with 52 seconds left to help the Steelheads prevail 2-1 and cut Belleville's series lead to 2-1.
Teichmann has had quite an odyssey over his four seasons. In 2009, the Bulls used their top priority-selection on him and took Subban in the 11th round. By 2010-11, it was evident Subban was on a fast track to being an eventual Boston Bruins first-rounder, while Teichmann was struggling. He went from Erie to having Maytag-repairman hours as Michael Houser's backup with the 2012 Memorial Cup runner-up London Knights to splitting time this season with another highly touted goalie, Spencer Martin. Steelheads coach-GM James Boyd put Teichmann in for Game 2 after Mississauga got rolled in the opener and the goalie's response has been the story of the series.
Honourable mention: Scott Sabourin, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
The Scott 'brothers,' namesake linemates Sabourin (2G-1A, +2) and Laughton (1G-2A, +1), carried the day in Oshawa's 4-3 Game 2 win over the Niagara IceDogs. Sabourin, Oshawa's overage finisher from Orléans, Ont., surely had an itchy trigger finger thanks to his scoring drought (one goal in eight games) that began in late February. The right wing got started early, jarring the puck free and teeing up Laughton for the game's first goal 3:17 into the contest. Sabourin went hard to the net later in the period for his first goal of the game, then scored on during a delayed penalty in the second period.
Honourable mention: Charlie Dodero, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
The Wolves won a wild one, beating Brampton 5-4 to even up the OHL's Sturgeon Stretch Series. (Make this a thing.)
Dodero (1G, +1) was named game's first star. With Sudbury defenceman Jeff Corbett going out with an injury after the first period, Dodero had to pick up extra shifts on the back end to help hold off the hard-working Battalion. Dodero's goal was the first of three power-play tallies the Wolves tallied in the game's first six minutes, which prompted Brampton bench boss Stan Butler to take a game misconduct for tearing into the officials verbally. The tirade kind of worked, since the Battalion got back in the game.
Potent notables — Anaheim Ducks prospect John Gibson had a 49-save shutout during the Kitchener Rangers' 2-0 Game 2 win over the Guelph Storm ... Oshawa defenceman Josh Brown scored his first OHL goal ... the QMJHL was idle Sunday.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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