No. 1 star: Nikolay Goldobin, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
For the second time this season, Goldobin led the Sting out of a trailing-after-40 jam to an overtime win over the London Knights, who have blown a third-period lead exactly zero times against their other 18 OHL rivals. The 17-year-old sensation capped a three-point night 16 seconds into overtime by feathering a crisp-yet-soft pass to Sting defenceman Anthony DeAngelo, who snapped the puck past fellow New Jersey native Anthony Stolarz for a 4-3 Sarnia win.
During the third period, Goldobin (1G-2A, +3) also erased the last of the Knights' lead with a behind-the-back setup that created a wide-open net for captain Charlie Sarault. The Russian also scored in the last minute of the first period, cutting into an early 2-0 deficit and ending an 181-minute, 31-second Knights shutout streak. Of course, Goldobin ended a better-known Knights streak on New Year's Day when he scored his fourth goal of the game in overtime to snap a 24-win skein.
"I don’t know what he is used to playing in front of at home, but London’s the big-time," DeAngelo told Metro London. “It’s awesome for him to step up here.”
Goldobin is second in OHL rookie scoring behind Erie's Connor McDavid, who is 15 months younger. McDavid will likely be named the league's rookie of the year, but Goldobin should garner some support.
Brendan Ross gets credit for the headline:
— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) February 8, 2013
Nikolay Goldobin should be dubbed #KnightSlayer. 7G 9P vs London Knights in 4 games is full value on a draft pick for Sting
— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) February 8, 2013
No. 2 star: Ben Duffy, P.E.I. Rocket (QMJHL)
Here's one Duffy whom Prince Edward Islanders see on a regular basis and happy for the fact. Ben Duffy (1G-4A, +2) had a five-point night to retake the Quebec League scoring lead, as helped P.E.I. double up the Saint John Sea Dogs 6-3 on the road. The overage got the fuse lit for the Rocket by earning the primary assists on two first-period power-play goals.
The Lower Sackville, N.S., native went right back to work by setting up Erik Robichaud for the 3-0 goal 30 seconds into the middle frame, then decided to take a turn scoring himself later in the frame. In the last minute, Duffy gave up a chance to shoot on the open net, instead feeding second-leading QMJHL scorer Josh Currie (1G-2A, +1) for his 40th goal of the season. Duffy's big night means he, Currie and Rimouski's Peter Trainor, all Maritimers, are 1-2-3 in league scoring.
By the way the madcaps at sportstream.ca are having a fun caption contest utilizing a picture of Duffy chirping with Halifax Mooseheads star Nathan MacKinnon during a recent game. Do your worst, by which I mean best.
No. 3 star: Colin Miller, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Bad weather kept the Greyhounds from getting to Brampton on time in the first place, but they left the rink in first place after a 5-1 beatdown of the Battalion. Captain Miller (2G, +2) and the Greyhounds led the way on the night of the roadies, as visiting teams won 6-of-7 games across the CHL. Sault Ste. Marie's weather-delayed arrival pushed the puck drop back by about 55 minutes. It looked like a long night could be in the offing when Brampton scored on the first shift of the game.
However, the 'Hounds soon forced the issue by being physical and playing the puck-possession game that has become their calling card under rookie coach Sheldon Keefe. Their big three on the blueline of the overage Miller, Detroit Red Wings prospect Ryan Sproul (3A, +3) and draft prospect Darnell Nurse (1A, +1) asserted themselves, shutting down Brampton and combining for half-a-dozen points. The win vaulted Sault Ste. Marie (62 points in 52 games) over Plymouth (61 in 50) and Sarnia (61/52) for the West Division lead and all-important No. 2 playoff seed.
Honourable mentions: Alexander Khokhlachev, Alex Aleardi & Kerby Rychel, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
The Spitfires' top line combined for 14 points during a 9-4 road victory over the Peterborough Petes and monopolized the game's three stars honours. Khokhlachev (3G, +3), the Boston Bruins prospect who rejoined the Spitfires last month after beginning the season with Moscow Spartak, had his second hat trick in five games, including the first Spitfires goal after they had a slow start. Aleardi (5A, +1) had a career-high five helpers and Rychel (1G-5A, +3) hit the 30-goal marker while also notching five assists. The result was big for Windsor, which pulled within three points of Saginaw for the final OHL Western Conference playoff berth.
Potent notables — Seventeen-year-old Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Tristan Jarry earned his sixth shutout in just 21 games this season with 24 saves in a 7-0 road rout of the Regina Pats. Jarry leads the WHL in average (1.54), save percentage (.939) and is tied for the lead in shutouts. Another Oil Kings highlight in the Eastern Conference first-vs.-worst wipeout was that Carolina Hurricanes pick Keegan Lowe scored his 13th of the campaign to set the single-season club record for goals by a defenceman ... Kamloops Blazers sophomore Cole Ully was recognized for being his club's January player of the month, then promptly scored two goals to help beat short-staffed Everett ... Montreal Canadiens fourth-rounder Olivier Archambault scored twice in Drummondville's 4-3 win at Rouyn-Noranda.
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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