Winterhawks coach Travis Green will not be splitting up this line for a while and neither will BTN. The The De Leo-Leier-Bjorkstrand line threw a President's Day blowout bash by combining for six goals, 16 points and plus-15 in Portland's 8-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs. Bjorkstrand (4G-2A, +5), the whippet-like Dane with a wicked shot, became the first WHL rookie to reach 25 goals with his mortarboard trick. The 17-year-old had to score the fourth goal since his hat-trick tally was mistakenly attributed to De Leo (5A, +5) on the Veterans Memorial Coliseum public-address system.
Oliver Bjorkstrand with the hat trick goal at 18:46 of the 2nd, but nobody here knows it's a hattie, PA announced last goal as De Leo.
— Scott Sepich (@SSepich) February 19, 2013
Leier, a 19-year-old Philadelphia Flyers fourth-rounder, also reached the 25-goal milestone, scoring Portland's first two goals while also earning three apples. De Leo, a 17-year-old Californian who should assure there is some 2014 NHL draft buzz in Portland next season, also had one of the best nights among his two seasons in the Western League. It is wild that Portland scored eight goals on a day when the Stat Pack, AKA the Nic Petan-Brendan Leipsic-Ty Rattie line, was blanked.
Top draft prospect Seth Jones will likely be the WHL rookie of the year. Bjorkstrand, who has 53 points in as many games, would have a case for the honour in most seasons.
No. 2 star: Andrey Pedan, Guelph Storm (OHL)
The 6-foot-5 defenceman, who has shown increasing ease with the OHL as his third season in the league has unfolded, led the Storm to a big 5-3 win over the Kitchener Rangers. With the Storm missing two regular defencemen, Matt Finn and Saverio Posa, Pedan (1G-2A, +2) turned in an all-around effort. The New York Islanders selection helped contain the Rangers' potent forwards, got assists in the first period and chipped in the eventual game-winning goal during the second period.
The win brought the Storm to .500 (4-4-0-0) during a heavy February schedule and kept them within five points of fourth-place Kitchener with 11 regular-season games to play. Winnipeg Jets pick Scott Kosmachuk got his 30th goal of the season for Guelph.
No. 3 star: Jaedon Descheneau, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
It took 60 games, but the Ice are finally in playoff spot after Descheneau scored his first Western League hat trick during their 5-2 win over the Swift Current Broncos. The 5-foot-8 centre who has become a point-per-game player over the past two months has normally been a setup man for Kootenay, but he helped the Ice build an early lead on Monday by snapping in a power-play goal with an assist from fellow 17-year-old Sam Reinhart in the first period. Descheneau scored unassisted in the second period to give Kootenay a vise grip on the game with a 4-1 lead, then delivered in a defensive situation with an empty-netter. That goal assured the Ice, who were once in last place, would leapfrog Lethbridge for eighth in the WHL's Eastern Conference.
Honourable mention: Boone Jenner, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
The Generals captain had four assists for the first time in his junior tenure to help The 'Shwa pull away for a 6-2 win over the Sudbury Wolves. Jenner (4A, +4) had the primary assists on two goals in the game's first eight minutes, including a short-handed setup on a goal by defenceman Geoffrey Schemitsch. The game was up for grabs, 2-2 starting the third period, but Jenner got the puck behind the net and teed up impressive rookie Michael Dal Colle for a quick shot and the game-winning goal. Oshawa later scored three goals in 52 seconds to put the game out of reach.
Honourable mention: Garret Ross, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Even on a holiday, the law firm of Lodge, Ross and Locke is doing work. The Spirit's big line, which combined for 27 points in three games this weekend, did all of their scoring during a 4-1 win at Windsor that completed a home-and-home sweep and all but sewed up Saginaw's playoff berth. Ross (3G-1A, +2) scored 42 seconds in the contest and then and he and Jimmy Lodge (2A, +2) found Eric Locke (1G, +2) for a perfect wrist shot to put Windsor into a two-goal hole.
Ross got the stranglehold 3-0 goal off a rebound, then completed his hat trick with an empty-netter in the final minute.
Honourable mention: Cody Ceci, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Ceci (2G) had a memorable final visit to Peterborough Memorial Centre. The Ottawa Senators first-rounder's two goals from his defence spot lifted Owen Sound to a 3-2 win over the impassioned Peterborough Petes. Both of Ceci's counters came during a three-goal outburst in the second period. The 19-year-old native of Orléans, Ont., also helped the Attack withstand heavy pressure over the final minutes from the Petes, who are trailing in a three-way race with Mississauga and Kingston for the last two playoff spots in their conference.
Honourable mention: Joseph Cramarossa, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
The Anaheim Ducks selection's speed and tenacity tipped the scales for Belleville, which beat the Barrie Colts 3-0 to take over the OHL Eastern Conference lead. The puckdrop was pushed back two hours after the Colts' arrival was delayed by a crash on Ontario's Hwy. 401, but the wait was worth it as the game was high-tempo and high-drama. Belleville, which got a 29-save shutout from Malcolm Subban, led 1-0 with 8:38 left when Cramarossa (1G-1A, +2) got behind coverage and was hauled down, earning a penalty shot. The overage forward made a sweet backhand deke on Mathias Niederberger to relieve the pressure on Belleville.
Potent notables — New York Rangers prospect Michael St. Croix, with three points in Edmonton's 6-0 rout of Prince George, became the first member of the modern Oil Kings to record 300 WHL points ... Winnipeg Jets pick Adam Lowry scored both Swift Current goals against Kootenay ... In the OHL, London's Max Domi and Plymouth's Stefan Noesen each had hat tricks during their teams' blowout wins (Knights 8-1 over Erie and Whalers 10-2 over Sarnia) ... Henri Ikonen had four assists during Kingston's 7-4 win at Mississauga.
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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