January 19, 2014
No. 1 star: Andreas Athanasiou, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Athanasiou, who is working on his all-around game in order to help his standing in the Detroit Red Wings organization, had a field day by scoring four goals in barely half a game during Barrie's 6-2 win over the Niagara IceDogs. Athanasiou (4G, +5) scored off the rush in the first period, then got a natural hat trick within a 5½-minute stretch of the middle period.
The Woodbridge, Ont., native scored on a back-door setup from Tampa Bay Lightning-drafted defenceman Jake Dotchin at the 7:30 mark frame. Just more than two minutes later, Brendan Lemieux (2A, +4) set up Athanasiou's hat-trick goal. The pair collaborated again a few minutes later.
Athanasiou, who has 60 points in 41 games, nearly had a fifth goal but was stopped by Niagara's Blake Richard on a partial break.
No. 2 star: Morgan Klimchuk, Regina Pats (WHL)
The Calgary Flames first-rounder was Regina's stopper, scoring a hat trick in the 4-2 road win over the Prince Albert Raiders that kept the Pats from being on a losing streak. Klimchuk (3G, +1) scored power-play goals at the 1:20 mark of each of the first two periods, putting wind into the Pats' sail in a crucial divisional game. Regina and P.A. were just a goal apart near the midpoint of the final frame when Raiders defenceman Josh Morrissey was stopped on a break and tripped up by Pats goalie Daniel Wapple. The Pats got a 2-on-1 break on the ensuing counter-attack and Klimchuk buried Dyson Stevenson's feed for the clincher.
Valk (2G-1A, +3), Trevor Cox (4A, +3) and Miles Koules (2G) did the heavy lifting offensively in Medicine Hat's 6-2 takedown of Eastern Conference-leading Calgary. Valk, the Tigers' overage captain, earned first star honours in front of the standard Saturday sellout crowd of 4,006. The native of Medicine Hat scored just 34 seconds after Hitmen star Jake Virtanen had pulled the visitors even at 1-1, then got an assist later in the frame as the Tigers opened a 4-1 lead.
Cox struck in the last minute of the second to restore a three-goal margin, putting Calgary in far too deep a hole for a comeback.
Honourable mention: Sam Reinhart, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
The potential NHL lottery pick earned first-star honours during Kootenay's 5-2 win at Swift Current. Reinhart (2G-1A, +1) and his linemates, undrafted 18-year-old Jaedon Descheneau (1G-2A, +2) and overage Zach Franko (1A, +1) combined for seven points on the night, helping the Ice pull even with the Broncos for sixth in the Eastern Conference at the two-thirds mark of the regular season.
Reinhart got his 20th of the season in the opening period. He also set up Descheneau's 30th (#FreeJaedon) and scored with just more than 12 minutes left; both tallies restored two-goal leads.
Honourable mention: Jonathan Drouin, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Drouin (4A, +3) led Halifax's 8-1 dismantling of the Rimouski Océanic, earning apples on four of the Herd's first six goals as they dominated the team with the Q's third-best record. The rub that a four-assist night only rates a HM for Drouin indicates how the Tampa Bay Lightning No. 3 overall pick has had his way with the league. Drouin now has 56 points in 25 games.
Honourable mention: Samuel Dove-McFalls, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
The Sea Dogs squirmed past Drummondville 4-3 thanks to the Pup Line of the 16-year-old Dove-McFalls (2G, +2), 16-year-old Mathieu Joseph (2A, +2) and 17-year-old Spencer Smallman (2A, +2). The trio collaborated on back-to-back goals by Dove-McFalls in the second period that gave the 17th-place Sea Dogs a 3-1 lead. Drummondville fought back to tie before 17-year-old Matthew Highmore potted the deciding goal, giving Saint John just its 14th win in 45 fixtures this season.
Potent notables — Detroit Red Wings prospect Marek Tvrdon's first goal for Kelowna clinched the Rockets' 5-3 win at Victoria, giving it a split of a two-game set vs. the Royals ... Winnipeg Jets third-rounder Eric Comrie stopped 31-of-32 shots in a win over Spokane ... Taran Kozun stopped 30 shots for Seattle to beat his former team, Kamloops, 3-2 ... Red Deer's Scott Feser doubled his career goal total in one night by scoring twice in a win over Lethbridge ... Todd Fiddler (3G-1A) scored his fifth hat trick of the season in Prince George's 7-6 shootout loss to Edmonton ... Latvian forward Rihards Bukarts (2G, +2) got the third-period game-winner for the Brandon Wheat Kings at Saskatoon ... In the OHL, Justin Nichols' 25-save effort helped Guelph edge league-leading Erie 1-0. It was the Otters' first 1-0 loss in 11 seasons ... Buffalo Sabres draftee Nick Baptiste reached the 25-goal mark during Sudbury's loss at Saginaw, which got 37 saves from Jake Paterson for its sixth win in a row ... Rookie Ryan Foss (3G, +2) had a hat trick during Windsor's win at Plymouth ... Colorado Avalanche pick Michael Clarke (1G-2A, +3) helped Peterborough trip up Sarnia 7-4 ... Overage goalie Philippe Trudeau stopped 46-of-47 shots in Ottawa's 2-1 road win over Belleville ... Sixteen-year-old Ryan Heeps' first junior goal gave Owen Sound a 2-1 verdict over Kitchener ... In the QMJHL, Montreal Canadiens prospect Charles Hudon (1G-2A, +3 in Baie-Comeau's win over Shawinigan) ran his point streak to 11 games ... Red Wings first-rounder Anthony Mantha (1G-2A in Val-d'Or's win at Sherbrooke) now has a league-high 78 points.
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.