No. 1 Star - Morgan Rielly, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Give credit to everybody on the Moose Jaw Warriors roster in this one tonight. In the highly-competitive East Division against a tough opponent in Prince Albert, the Warriors struck early and often, led by Leafs No. 1 pick Morgan Rielly, who paced the Warriors with five assists in a 9-0 victory for Moose Jaw.
Not to be outdone, however, Sam Fioretti recorded a hat-trick and potted a pair of helpers, while overage Justin Kirsch picked up two goals of his own. If the score-line is any indication, it was a fairly dominant performance from Moose Jaw, but particularly on their powerplay. Rielly, who is just so good at the little things, finding those small gaps on the ice and starting up good down low plays. Just one of his assists came on the PP tonight, but the Warriors struck twice in their five attempts.
The other fun thing to consider with Rielly is that with 17 12 points now, he's right up there with the WHL defensive scoring leaders in his 18-year old season. Offensively, he's got it together.
No. 2 Star - Anthony Mantha, Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
We may have to check the archives, but I'm of the belief that J.C. Lipon and Anthony Mantha represent the first time that CHL players have scored natural hat-tricks in the first 8:30 of play on consecutive nights. In Mantha's case, he provided his three goals, like Lipon, in the first 8:30 of play. Unlike Lipon, he did it against a Saint John squad that has now conceded 40 goals to the 28 it has scored. It was but three goals in a 7-1 whipping. Not exactly the dream start Dogs fans envisioned after consecutive Presidents' Cup titles.
Not to be out-done, Val-d'Or's second line was also buzzing. Anton Zlobin, hero of the MasterCard Memorial Cup in Shawinigan, had two goals straddling the first intermission. By the time him and Mantha were done, this game was over.
The fun thing about Mantha? He was a day removed from being eligible for the last NHL draft. He now has 7 goals and 17 points in 10 games.
No. 3 Star - Malcolm Subban, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
The Oshawa Generals didn't necessarily get a tonne of powerplay opportunities, nor a tonne of scoring chances on the big ice surface at Belleville's Yardmen Arena, but Malcolm Subban's endurance and mental toughness were both challenged as the Bulls spent a pile of time in their own end. In the end, Subban stopped 44 of 45 shots, no easy task, and shut out OHL scoring leader Boone Jenner.
Subban also had a strong outing against Brampton this past Wednesday. He's allowed just two goals on the last 75 goals he's faced.
Honourable Mention - Andrew Fritsch, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Ho-hum. Another night, another comeback victory for the Soo Greyhounds, now second place in the OHL's Western Conference after a 3-2 victory over Plymouth on the road. Andrew Fritsch, the Phoenix Coyotes prospect, had a pair of goals on the night, including a market 1:50 into overtime from Darnell Nurse and Nick Cousins.
Honourable Mention - Cameron Brace, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
It was a see-saw affair in Owen Sound tonight between the Attack and the Petes. Owen Sound had leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 before falling behind 4-3 with just 3:06 to play. Cameron Brace assisted on a late goal from Daniel Catenacci that tied the game with just :47 seconds on the clock, and then both converted their chances in the shootout to give Owen Sound the victory. Other than the assist, he also had Owen Sound's first two goals.
Honourable Mention - Ty Rattie, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
It was a tough back-to-back for the Winterhawks, in theory, going into Prince Albert one night and Swift Current the next, but the reigning Western Conference champs of two years managed a pair of wins, and got four goals off the stick of St. Louis Blues' Ty Rattie, capped off by a powerplay marker with 3:04 to go in the 6-3 victory.
Potent Notables: Otherwise known as the Connor McDavid section. The 15-year old had an assist for Erie, stretching his point streak to eight games… Nathan MacKinnon scored for Halifax in their 4-1 win vs. Shawinigan… but 15-goal scorer Jean-Sébastien Dea did not get one for Rouyn-Noranda vs. PEI… Dylan Smoskowitz stays hot, recording another pair of goals in Mississauga's win over Erie… Aaron Eklad assisted on both Barrie goals in a 2-1 win… in the 'W' Brett Stovin stopped the bleeding for the Blades, with a hat trick in a 5-2 win… Daniel Wapple gets his first career SO in goal for Moose Jaw... Cody Sylvester scored two for the Hitmen… Medicine Hat whopped Prince George 7-2, and got four assists from Boston Leier… Three more assists for Spokane's Mitch Holmberg... Ben Walker scored twice for Victoria, including a PP marker with 2:30 to go in the Royals' win over the Rocks.