September 29, 2013
No. 1 star: Anthony Mantha, Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
Mantha has a propensity for massive nights at that mecca of major junior hockey, Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City. The 6-foot-5 finisher nonpareil had his second career four-goal game, with an assist thrown in for garnish, to help the Foreurs embarrass the Quebec Remparts 11-2.
When Willy Palov writes that you're supposed to do something, well brother, you step to it. It's almost like Mantha (4G-1A, +3), the Detroit Red Wings first-rounder who already has one hat trick on the nascent campaign, read that he's the favourite for the Q scoring crown and got down to business. The 19-year-old scored 42 seconds after the opening faceoff. Then he went on a binge in the second, getting three goals and a primary helper on a tally by Guillaume Gélinas.
What else can one say? When Mantha's on, he's hard to stop; this was his seventh hat trick since the start of 2012-13. Mantha's teammates Gélinas and Louick Marcotte each enjoyed four-point games.
The Windsor captain's hat trick, among the four on a five-game OHL docket, stands out since it was probably the biggest morale booster. The Spitfires needed a lift after having nothing to show for a 49-shot effort on Thursday and got it via an 8-4 win over the Windsor Spitfires. They got leadership from Rychel (3G-2A, +2), Montreal Canadiens pick Brady Vail (2G-2A, +4), 17-year-olds Josh Ho-Sang (1G-3A, +3) and Nikita Yazkov (1G-2A, +3) while gelling offensively for the first time on the season.
Rychel helped Windsor get on firm footing with a goal in the opening minute of the second period. The Columbus Blue Jackets first-rounder also got the first of two rapid-fire goals that stretched the Spits' lead to 6-2, and then got his hatty in the third by driving to the net to redirect a Ho-Sang feed.
No. 3 star: Gemel Smith, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
All he does is score goals, the same way Cris Carter used to only catch touchdown passes. Smith (4G, +1) one-timed a fat rebound home to give the Attack a 7-6 overtime win over the Sudbury Wolves, who had scored twice in the final five minutes of regulation to get the single point.
The Dallas Stars fourth-rounder is apparently under instructions to shoot the puck more. Smith has a Cy Young line going with 9G-0A in four games. Minnesota Wild prospect Kurtis Gabriel (3A) assisted on two of Smith's salvos, including one at 19:58 of the first period.
I'm not even going to rank this Zach Fucale performance, just enjoy it:
The Montreal Canadiens goalie prospect stopped 33-of-34 shots in game and went 10-for-10 during the circus in the Halifax Mooseheads' 2-1 shootout win over Baie-Comeau in a rematch of the President's Cup final. The window into how dialled in Fucale was on Saturday starts around the 55-second mark in John Moore's highlight reel.
Honourable mention: Garrett Hooey, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
Hooey (3G, +1), a fishing enthusiast, left the Niagara IceDogs talking about the one that got away. The 19-year-old got a greasy goal with 13 seconds left to compete his hat trick and give the Bulls a 4-3 win over Niagara in a tilt between teams who came in winless.
Niagara sophomore Brendan Perlini (2G-1A) helped his team climb back from an early 3-0 deficit, making a sweet saucer pass to Toronto Maple Leafs third-rounder Carter Verhaeghe on the 3-3 goal. Hooey mooted that rally in the final minute, getting just enough of a low shot to tip it in. It was the fifth goal in four games for Hooey, who scored 11 and 10 the past two seasons.
Honourable mention: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Portland's awake, that's a big 10-4. Bjorkstrand (4G-1A, +5) led the Winterhawks' wrecking crew that hit double-digits against the Seattle Thunderbirds, who entered undefeated in three games and left in a daze. The Blue Jackets late third-rounder has 12 points in four games on the season, which is certainly promising for the 18-year-old.
Honourable mention: Jaedon Descheneau, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Once again, #FreeJaedon. The underrated 18-year-old scored all of the Ice's goals in their 3-1 win over the Regina Pats, with top draft prospect Sam Reinhart getting helpers on each tally. Descheneau also had a three-point night in Kootenay's first game of the weekend.
Potent notables — Victoria's Trent Lofthouse factored into the two third-period goals in during the Royals' 4-3 come-from-behind shootout win at Kelowna. Minnesota natives Logan Nelson, Ben Walker and Jack Walker all converted in the shootout for the Royals ... Mitch Holmberg scored both Spokane Chiefs goals in their 2-1 win over Tri-City and Winnipeg Jets goalie prospect Eric Comrie (36 saves). Holmberg has a WHL-high 14 points ... Overage Boston Leier's first two goals of the season lifted Medicine Hat over Kamloops ... In the OHL, Carolina Hurricanes prospect Sergey Tolchinsky had a hat trick for Sault Ste. Marie in its 4-3 shootout loss to Barrie ... Owen Sound's Ethan Szypula scored his first junior goal. Buffalo Sabres pick Nick Baptiste had two goals in the Sudbury-Owen Sound tilt, including the equalizer with five seconds left ... In the QMJHL, Chicago Blackhawks-drafted D Dillon Fournier was plus-4 during Rouyn-Noranda's 5-2 win at Victoriaville ... Olivier LeBlanc's career-high three points (1G-2A) helped Saint John top Sherbrooke.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com.