No. 1 star: Scott Kosmachuk, Guelph Storm (OHL)
Kosmachuk has been hot for the Storm in his last three games, earning eight points and being a catalyst on offense for Guelph in three wins.
Make that four on both counts.
The Winnipeg pick scored four times, including the game winner, and added an assist in Guelph’s 7-3 drubbing of the Ottawa 67’s. His five points gives him 21 on the season, putting him in a tie for fifth place overall in OHL scoring. Kosmachuk now has 13 points in his last four games. He is a proven 30-goal scorer in the OHL, having done it twice before, but he’s never scored at the goal-a-pace he’s at, with 12-in-12. His 12 goals puts him one off the league lead.
The Storm outshot the 67’s 47-32 in a game where both teams had powerplay and shorthanded goals. Kosmachuk’s teammate Hunter Garlent had a goal and three assists, while both players were a team-leading +4. Zach Mitchell added two assists.
Joseph Blandisi scored twice for Ottawa, who dropped to 5-8-0-0. Brendan Bell added two assists. Philippe Trudeau was saddled with the loss, stopping 40-of-47. Matthew Mancina got the win, making 29 saves.
The Storm improve to 9-3-0-0, one point off the division- and league-leading Erie Otters. They have won four games in a row, matching their dominant first four games of the season. They play the mediocre Kitchener Rangers on Tuesday before another weekend homestand.
Audette scored twice and added three assists to lead the Phoenix to an 8-6 barn burner over the Victoriaville Tigres. This one was a wild one, and could be a character-builder for the boys in the double blue.
Victoriaville got up to a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Sherbrooke tied it at three with three goals in a little over three minutes to even the score heading into the second intermission. The Tigres opened the third stanza by scoring three times in 59 seconds. Sherbrooke responded in kind by scoring five times, including three on the powerplay, to sink the Tigres.
Audette started the scoring for the Phoenix, denting the twine for the first two Sherbrooke goals. He added three assists in the third period steamroll.
Dominic Talbot-Tassi scored twice, including the winner, and added two apples for the Phoenix, who improved to 4-9-1-1 and increased their lead over basement dweller Shawinigan. Victoriaville dropped to 8-5-1-0. Miraculously, both starting goalies took the whole brunt of the offence, with Francis Desrosiers outlasting Brandon Whitney for the win. Shots were 34-33 for the Phoenix, the 34th shot coming into an empty net.
No. 3 star: Jake Virtanen, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Virtanen scored the first three goals for the Hitmen in the first period, narrowly missing a natural hat trick, in Calgary’s 6-3 win in a mismatch over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Virtanen had three goals in the first 8:16 of the first period Sunday, enough to pull Christopher Tai, who stopped three shots, and might have been fine if Virtanen didn’t have his number.
Remi Laurencelle, scoring at 7:07 of the first, was the only obstacle preventing Virtanen from a natural hatty.
Brady Brassart scored twice, including the winner, as the Hitmen improve their eastern conference leading record to 8-3-0-1. Radel Fazleev added two assists, and Mack Shields earned the win in net. Lethbridge falls further in the basement at 2-10-0-1.
Honorable mention: Anthony Mantha, Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
Mantha keeps pace with Mitch Holmberg for the CHL scoring lead, chipping in with two goals and two assists as the Val-d’Or Foreurs dismantled the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 7-3.
Mantha’s points put him at 33 on the season in 12 games, enough to overcome Holmberg, who sits at 32 points in 13. Connor Brown leads the OHL in scoring with 29 points. Mantha’s two goals puts him at 18, two up on Holmberg.
The Detroit first rounder had the assists on Louick Marcotte’s winner at 1:18 of the second period on the man advantage. Nicolas Aubé-Kubel added a goal and two assists for the winners, who improved to 8-6-0-0. Pierre-Maxime Poudrier had a goal and an assist.
Clark Bishop scored twice for Cape Breton, who dropped to 6-6-0-2. Alex Bureau took the loss, stopping 26 shots. François Tremblay got the win in a light night, saving 21.
Potent notables: Scott Laughton had two goals as Oshawa squeaked by Sault Ste. Marie 5-4 in a shootout. Sergei Tolchinsky had two goals in the loss. Cole Cassels notched the winner in the breakaway relay. … Alexandre Ranger and Denis Gorbunov each scored twice for Baie-Comeau in their definitive 5-1 win over the hapless Shawinigan Cataractes. Valentin Zykov had three assists, and Nicolas Meloche chipped in with two more. … Jack Rodewald lit the red lamp twice, including the eventual winner, in Moose Jaw’s 4-3 win over Prince Albert. Tanner Eberle added a goal and an assist. … Alex Dubeau was the first star for the Wildcats in their 3-2 win over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, steering 37 shots aside and slamming the door on the Huskies at the goal line in the final seconds. … Phoenix first rounder Henrik Samuelsson scored the winner early in the extra frame as Edmonton topped Kootenay 3-2. … Brent Turnbull scored twice in Quebec’s 5-4 shootout loss in Acadie-Bathurst. Senators pick François Brassard stopped 36-of-39 in just over 62 minutes of work for the loss. … Christophe Lalancette had a goal and two assists in Drummondville’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Gatineau Olympiques. Calgary Flames prospect Emile Poirier had two assists for the winners. Blueliner Vincent Dunn had the winner in the shootout. … Goaltending battle in Saint John, as Julio Billia outsaved Sébastien Auger for a Sags road victory. Billia stopped 33 shots for Chicoutimi, while Auger stopped 32 in a 2-1 Sea Dogs loss. … Joshua Winquist had a goal and two assists in Everett’s 4-1 win over Swift Current. Captain Matt Pufahl added two apples. … Blainville-Boisbriand bounced back from last night’s defeat, beating the Rimouski Oceanic 2-1 in a game that should have been exciting, but was the most unremarkable game ever on the scoresheet.