Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Portland Winterhawks’ Ty Rattie makes it a perfect 10 to lead Thursday’s 3 Stars

No. 1 star: Ty Rattie, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

Rattie finished Portland's four-game sweep of the Kelowna Rockets with this eye-popping statline: 10 goals, three assists, 13 points, +10 plus/minus and two hat tricks. That's just ridiculous. The St. Louis Blues second-rounder pick scored four goals tonight in Portland's sweep-tacular 5-3 win over the Kelowna Rockets.

Rattie had two goals during the opening period, with Sven Bärtschi (11 points in the series) getting the primary assist on each tally. Kelowna, to its credit, made a game of it and kept fighting back to tie. Early in the third period, Rattie got a breakaway, waited out overage goalie Adam Brown and jammed the puck into the top of the net to get what Winterhawks play-by-play man Todd Vrooman calls the 'Rat Trick.' The teams traded goals once more, with Taylor Leier's deflection putting the Winterhawks ahead to stay. In the final minute, Rattie showed some clairvoyance to cut off a Myles Bell pass that was headed for a streaking Brett Bulmer and went for the empty-netter.

Strangely enough, the Airdrie, Alta., native did not have a game-winning goal during the series. Rattie just seemed to score every other goal for the 'Hawks. Or set them up. Brown made 30 saves in his final junior game. It's the first time the Rockets have ever been swept since moving to Kelowna. The only other sweep in club history also came against Portland in 1994.

No. 2 star: Paul Ciarelli, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

The Wheat Kings' No. 2 centre should be No. 1 in the hearts of their fans who travelled down the Trans-Canada Highway to support the transplanted Wheat Kings this week in Winnipeg. Ciarelli, an overager playing in his hometown, sent Brandon on to Round 2 by scoring the overtime winner in their 3-2 Game 5 win over the Calgary Hitmen at the MTS Centre. The 21-year-old centre and his linemates Darian Dziurzynski and Jens Meilleur put the Wheat Kings on their back, as they accounted for both the decider 8:26 into extra time as well as the tying goal. That marker 4:14 into the third also came via Ciarelli and it might have done just as much for the Wheat Kings. They had just given up two goals in 30 seconds to go down 2-1 and put themselves at risk of a long trip back to Calgary for Game 6. However, Ciarelli made sure that didn't happen.

This was the Wheat Kings' first playoff overtime game since the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup semifinal. They beat the Hitmen that night too, also on a goal from an overager from Manitoba, Jay Fehr. But that time it was actually in their home arena. Go figure: there's a possibility that the only WHL team which gets out the first round without benefit of home-ice advantage is the one whose home arena was occupied for a winter fair. The seventh-seeded Regina Pats are down 3-1 to Moose Jaw in the only Eastern Confence series still extant, while fifth-seeded Spokane is tied 2-2 with Vancouver in the Western Conference.

No. 3 star: Ryan Rupert, London Knights (OHL)

Rupert went from worker bee to star scorer for a night, getting a hat trick to help London polish off the Windsor Spitfires 8-3 in the fourth and final game of their series. On a night that was all about reminding people the Knights are really good despite being so young, the 17-year-old started London off with a goal that he banked in off a defender in the first. Rupert then found a hole in Windsor's coverage to redirect a Greg McKegg pass home for a power-play goal in the second and completed his trick in the third. All told, seven of the eight Knights goals came from players born in 1994. That included a pair from Chris Tierney, a short-hander from Andreas Athanasiou and Brett Welychka's first playoff tally.

All three Spitfires goals were also by '94-birthdate players (Michael Clarke, Chris Marchese, Kerby Rychel). And to think, those guys have two more seasons to play Can You Top This.

Honourable mention: Mitchell Heard, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

Heard scored the third-period game winning goal among a three-point night to help the Whalers beat the Guelph Storm 5-2 to tie their series 2-2. Heard (1G-2A, +2) and the Whalers likely had reason to feel optimistic going into the third period, since the Storm were just 1-5-0-3 when tied after two periods in the regular season. Still, the game was there for the taking at the six-minute mark when Heard took a lead pass from J.T. Miller and buried a wrist shot behind Guelph's Garret Sparks for the lead. Heard also assisted on the Whalers' opening goal and on Alex Aleardi's clincher with 6:05 to play.

Potent notables — The Edmonton Oil Kings' Rhett Rachinski scored twice to help his team sweep the Kootenay Ice. Edmonton Oilers pick and Ice captain Drew Czerwonka scored Kootenay's lone goal ... In the QMJHL, Alexandre Comtois' goal 2:30 into overtime gave Quebec a 2-1 win and series sweep of Drummondville. Seven of eight Quebec league only needed the minimum four games. The Chicoutimi Saguenéens, up 3-1, host Game 5 vs. Acadie-Bathurst on Friday.

(Game recaps available on the news page)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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