October 17, 2013
No. 1 star: Riley Stadel, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
On a team loaded with quality forwards, who thought the Rockets' leading goal-scorer through nine games would be a 17-year-old defenceman? Stadel scored three times in the first 27 minutes Wednesday and added an assist as Kelowna pasted lowly Lethbridge 6-0.
Stadel now has seven goals on the season, giving him a share of the league lead for blueliners, along with Edmonton's Cody Corbett. Stadel only scored twice in 49 games last season.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Nick Merkley continued to light up the scoresheet for the Rockets, racking up four assists. Merkley has 13 points this season, just two fewer than Seattle phenom Mathew Barzal.
Lethbridge looks to be in for a long season. The Hurricanes are off to a 1-9-0-1 start, and have been outscored 56-22 for the season. Goalie Corbin Boes was the bright spot Wednesday, as he earned third star honours for stopping 56 of Kelowna's 62 shots. Jordon Cooke made 26 saves for the Rockets to notch his sixth WHL shutout.
No. 2 stars: Mike Aviani and Mitch Holmberg, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
It's hard to talk about Aviani or Holmberg right now without mentioning the other, and the Chiefs' two-headed monster did it again Wednesday, collecting two goals and two assists each as Spokane downed Swift Current 5-1.
With 14 goals and 29 points in 11 games, Holmberg is on pace for a 190-point season, something the WHL hasn't seen since goalies were wearing toothpicks on their legs to stop shots. Aviani, with 11 goals and 21 points, is tied with Kootenay's Sam Reinhart for second in the league in scoring.
It's not unusual for 20-year-old forwards to use their experience and physical maturity to have big offensive seasons, but these two are destroying the league right now. The Chiefs are 9-2, and Aviani and Holmberg have combined to score more goals (25) than the team has allowed this season (24).
No. 3 star: Sébastian Sylvestre, Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)
The overager set a new career high with five points, scoring a goal and setting up four others as Chicoutimi pulled off a 6-4 road upset in Rimouski. Sylvestre capitalized on a turnover in the first period to notch an unassisted goal, his seventh of the season, then registered assists on all four tallies as the Sagunéens turned a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead.
Honourable mention: Eric Comrie, Tri-City Americans (WHL)
Comrie's Americans came out on the short end of a 4-1 decision in Portland, but his 44 saves kept the Ams in a game that could've been out of hand in the first period. The Winterhawks only led 1-0 through two periods thanks to a number of acrobatic saves by Comrie, and didn't put the game away until late in the third.
On the other end, Brendan Burke played arguably his best game of the season for Portland, stopping 29 of 30 Tri-City shots. The Winterhawks had given up at least four goals in six straight games coming in.
Honourable mention: Alex Dubeau, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
The veteran of the 2012 Memorial Cup put together his most complete effort of this season since an opening-night shutout of defending champion Halifax, stopping 38 of 39 shots in a 3-1 win over Saint John at Harbour Station. The Sea Dogs outshot the Wildcats 18-4 in the third period, but Dubeau stood tall, allowing just the one goal to Matthew Highmore.