No. 1 star: Jake Paterson, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Too bad most of the knee-jerkers who inveighed against Paterson during the world junior championship after Canada's shootout loss to the Czech Republic didn't see him in action on Friday. The Detroit Red Wings third-rounder made 59 saves to help Saginaw upset the London Knights 3-1. The busy night included 29 stops in the final 20 minutes as the Memorial Cup-host Knights and their four NHL first-round picks went all out to break down the Paterson roadblock.
Coming off a shutout vs. London last weekend, the 19-year-old Paterson robbed Max Domi a couple times in the first period and also rebuffed Ryan Rupert on a penalty shot, allowing the Spirit to take a 1-0 lead. He came up with a couple big saves early in the second before the Spirit counter attacked and Buffalo Sabres third-rounder Justin Kea buried a goal to put the Knights, already set back by an injury to goalie Anthony Stolarz, in a two-goal hole.
Vancouver Canucks first-rounder Bo Horvat scored in the third, ending Paterson's 109-minute, 11-second scoreless skein vs. London. That was all London could get; it will be awful interesting if the Knights and Spirit hook up in the first round of the playoffs.
Since returning from the WJC's, Jake Paterson has been fantastic, posting a .955 SV %. Was brilliant tonight against London. #backontrack
— OHL Prospects Blog (@BrockOtten) January 18, 2014
No. 2 star: Kyle Farrell, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
The Cape Breton native helped the Eagles vault over the Moncton Wildcats for 10th overall in the Q, notching a career-high five points during the 8-3 win. With the teams one point apart in the standings, Farrell (3G-2A, +5) helped the Eagles build a quick 4-0 first-period lead, setting up a short-handed goal by Clark Bishop less than one minute after the opening goal and also scored later in the period. The 'Cats pared the margin down to two goals, but the 5-foot-7 Farrell mooted any thought of a comeback by sniping two more goals for his hat trick, both on setups by Bishop (1G-2A, +2).
No. 3 star: Steven Hodges: Victoria Royals (WHL)
Hodges (2G-1A, +2) did the honours offensively during the surging Royals' full-value 3-1 win over the CHL's top-ranked Kelowna Rockets. Victoria has looked legit of late while knocking off heavyweights such as the Rockets and Portland Winterhawks and it enjoyed the run of play at the Save-On Foods Centre, with Hodges factoring into all of the scoring. The 19-year-old from Yellowknife got an assist when the Royals got a goal back just 2:19 after Kelowna had opened the scoring. Hodges put Victoria ahead, to stay as it turned out, off a setup from Axel Blomqvist later in the opening frame and scored a 5-on-3 goal in the second.
The Royals got a 34-of-35 night from goalie Patrik Polivka and also played physically but yielded only a single power play. Their reward for taking down Kelowna is a rematch on Saturday.
Honourable mention: Connor Brown, Erie Otters (OHL)
The Toronto Maple Leafs pick scored an all-power play hat trick during Erie's 6-3 doubling of the Sam Bennett-less Kingston Frontenacs. All three goals went Brown (3G-1A, +1) from Connor McDavid (4A) and Adam Pelech (3A, +1). Those three Otters power plays lasted a combined total of 131 seconds, so yeah, it's a good idea not to take penalties against Erie. The outburst brings Brown up to 92 points in 44 games, 10 clear of teammate Dane Fox and 23 more than anyone who doesn't wear the Otters' tricolour togs.
Honourable mention: Jean-Sébastien Dea, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect scored a dramatic hat trick that included the equalizer and the winner in the Huskies' 4-3 overtime win at Sherbrooke. Dea and the Huskies, who are pushing for a top four finish in the Q, gave up three consecutive goals to trail after 40 minutes. But Dea tied the game with 14:16 to play and then got the winner 88 seconds into overtime, both on setups from Marcus Power (3A, +2). The hatty gives Dea 33 goals in 42 games, but he's had only 11 assists.
Honourable mention: Henrik Samelsson, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Samuelsson (4G-1A, +5) had a mortarboard trick to account for half of Edmonton's scoring during an 8-0 waltz over the Prince George Cougars. The Phoenix Coyotes first-rounder's career night including a game-opening goal in the eighth minute off a setup from Ottawa Senators first-rounder Curtis Lazar. Samuelsson had a hat trick by the game's 21-minute mark and scored his fourth of the night midway through the second. Six Oil Kings had an assist on a Samuelsson strike, including Edmonton Oilers pick Mitch Moroz (4A, +3) and Reid Petryk (2G-2A, +3)
Potent notables — Dalton Sward (2G, +3) helped Vancouver win 6-2 at Kamloops to give Giants coach Don Hay his 600th WHL win, which fittingly came in the city where Hay guided the Blazers to three Memorial Cup titles in the mid-1990s ... Anaheim Ducks first-rounder Shea Theodore (3A, +2) helped Seattle blank Tri-City 4-0. Theodore has 10 assists in his last six games ... Saskatoon beat Prince Albert for the first time this season thanks in large part to Troy Trombley stopping 41-of-42 shots ... Columbus Blue Jackets pick Peter Quenneville (1G-3A, +1) helped Brandon hold off Swift Current 6-5 ... Ottawa Senators-drafted goalie Chris Driedger stopped 23-of-24 shots in Calgary's win at Red Deer ... In the OHL, Philadelphia Flyers first-round Scott Laughton (2G-2A, +3) helped Oshawa beat Owen Sound to open an eight-point lead over Kingston in the East Division with 24 games to play ... Dallas Stars fourth-rounder Nick Paul (1G-2A, +3) led North Bay to a win at Mississauga ... Carolina Hurricanes draftee Brock McGinn had his second two-point game in a row for the Guelph Storm since returning from wrist surgery ... Sarnia Sting's Nikolay Goldobin had his 22-game point streak snapped ... Franky Palazzese had a 34-save, 1-0 shutout for Sudbury against Plymouth, with Alex Nedeljkovic stopping 34-of-35 shots for the Whalers ... During Victoriaville's 6-5 shootout win over Val-d'Or, Jean-François Plante (2G, +1) took over the QMJHL goal scoring lead, 38-37 over Anthony Mantha, who was shut out ... Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder Frédérik Gauthier (3A, +2) was first star during Rimouski's win over league-leading Blainville-Boisbriand ... Eighteen-year-old D Alexis Vanier scored two goals in 26 seconds during Baie-Comeau's win over Gatineau.
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.