Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Fabulous Fabbri gets 40th as Storm sweeps through North Bay: Thursday’s 3 Stars

No. 1 star: Robby Fabbri, Guelph Storm (OHL)

Fabbri (1G-1A, +3) was first star of Guelph's 5-4 win over the North Bay Battalion that stretched the Storm's lead for first overall to six points. The NHL draft prospect became the first underage player to reach the 40-goal milestone during the first period, taking a ricochet off the back boards to open the scoring 14:47 into the proceedings in the Gateway City. The Battalion, buoyed by a goal from Vancouver Canucks-drafted defenceman Miles Liberati, got level at 2-2 after two periods.

Just part the quarter-point of the third, the Fabbri-Kerby Rychel-Justin Auger line struck to restore Guelph to the lead for good. Winnipeg Jets selection Scott Kosmachuk got assists on two goals over the next eight minutes, giving the Storm enough separation to survive a fevered Battalion comeback.

No. 2 star: Josh Burnside, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Burnside (1G-1A, +2) led 'Sauga to a much needed 3-1 win at Niagara, but this star could go to another J.B., Steelheads coach-GM James Boyd. The bench boss took his timeout 5:15 into the third period when the score was tied and the IceDogs had tilted the ice in their favour during an important leg of the turtle derby, so-called, for the last two Eastern Conference playoff spots. Coming out of the timeout, the line of Burnside, Bryson Cianfrone (1G-1A, +2) and Andrew Goldberg (2A, +2) broke out of their own zone. Burnside swooped in on goal and was turned back by Brent Moran, but Cianfrone rapped in the rebound for what proved to be the game-winner. Niagara had a goal waved off just seconds later, and then Burnside scored himself to give the Steelheads a two-goal stranglehold.

The win gives seventh-place Mississauga (50 points) a lead over eighth-place Ottawa (48), Niagara (46) and Belleville (44). Each team has eight games left.

No. 3 star: Anthony Stefano, Peterborough Petes (OHL)

The rookie centre Stefano (1G-1A, +2) chipped in to help the Petes beat rival Oshawa 5-2 despite the absence of playmaker Hunter Garlent, who left the team to grieve the death of his father, Rob Garlent. With some no doubt heavy hearts, but an eager crowd of 3,104 yearning to see a takedown of the conference-leading Generals, the Petes survived giving up two power-play goals to Hunter Smith to stay even going into the third. With 10:54 left, Stefano set up Steven Lorentz to untie the contest. Just more than three minutes later, Stephen Nosad was denied on a wraparound, but Stefano pounced on the rebound for an insurance goal that opened a 4-2 lead.

So Stefano set up a player named Steven and scored with an assist from a player named Stephen. That is not at all confusing.

Honourable mention: Ryan Foss, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

The snow squalls sweeping across Ontario held up the Barrie Colts-Spitfires contest for 85 minutes, but Windsor eventually got into rhythm and won 4-1. The Spits didn't have a shot for the first 10 minutes, but veterans Remy Giftopoulos and Ben Johnson scored 2:01 apart late in the second period. Foss (1G-1A, +1), who's made a good impression this season after joining Windsor as an undrafted rookie, assisted on Johnson's goal and added a power-play tally in the second.

Ryan Moore (2A, +1) and Dalen Kuchmey (27 saves) completed an all-rookie three stars selections at the WFCU Centre.

Potent notables — North Bay captain Barclay Goodrow got his 30th goal, reaching the milestone for the second year in a row.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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