February 08, 2014
No. 1 star: Brayden Point, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Point showed that dynamite does indeed come in small packages as the Warriors embarrassed the underachieving Prince Albert Raiders in their own building. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound centre led Moose Jaw on the score sheet with three goals and three assists in the 7-1 shellacking. After helping setting up Alexey Sleptsov (1G) in the opening frame, he potted his first of the night and assisted a Jack Rodewald (1G-1G, +3) goal in the second period. The 17-year-old completed his six-point night in the final 20 minutes with a pair of genos and an apple on a Tanner Eberle (1G-1A, -1) marker. In addition, Point tied Spenser Jensen and Rodewald for a team high plus three.
The strong performance puts Point over the point-per-game mark with 25 goals and 58 points in 53 games on the year. The Calgary, Alta., native's smaller stature should keep him out of the first round, but he's made a strong case to put himself in the conversation of possible second-round steals.
In between the pipes, Justin Paulic had one of his best games of his career by turning aside 39 of 40 shots. His .975 save percentage stands the highest of his 45 matches on the year.
No. 2 star: Nick Ritchie, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
The 6-foot-3, 229-pound winger went above and beyond to give his Petes a chance to beat the Kingston Frontenacs. Just over a minute into the game, he gave Peterborough the lead with a power-play marker. Kingston stormed back by taking a 4-1 lead after the first 20 minutes, but Ritchie led his club back into the game. He scored two goals in the first half of the second period before setting up Eric Cornel (1G-4A, +2) to tie the contest up at four. In the final frame, the top 2014 NHL draft prospect exchanged a pair of goals with the Frontenacs to give him six points on the night and push the game into overtime. But unfortunately for Ritchie, he couldn’t hit the back of the net for a sixth time in the shootout while Spencer Watson (1G-2A, +2) scored the lone shootout goal to give Kingston the 7-6 win.
Ritchie ultimately was neck and neck with Point for the No. 1 star, but since the 18-year-old was already given his own post, the Western Canadian kid was given the edge on him to spread around the love.
No. 3 star: Ivan Barbashev, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
The 18-year-old NHL draft prospect had his best game of the year on the stats sheet with a five-point performance in a 7-1 win over the Charlottetown Islanders. Following a scoreless first period, Barbashev took over the last 40 minutes of the contest. The Russian sniper kicked off the middle frame with a quick even-strength goal under two minutes into the period. He went onto score his second of the night and assist a Christopher Lalonde (2G, +2) marker to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead. He picked up in the third period right where he left off in the second by hooking up with Vladimir Tkachev (1G-3A, +2) just 52 seconds into it and potting his third of the night at the 4:53 mark.
Honourable mention: Tim Bozon, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
The Montreal Canadiens prospect took advantage of the down-and-out Lethbridge Hurricanes. In the 8-1 shellacking, Bozon scored a goal in every period after assisting the contest’s opening goal from Luke Philip (2G-1A, +3) just over five minutes into the game.
Besides Bozon and Philip, Sam Reinhart and Jaeden Descheneau padded their stats with a goal and two assists apiece. Meanwhile, New York Rangers prospect MacKenzie Skapski turned away 23 of 24 pucks.
Honourable mention: Marcus Power, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
In the Huskies’ 4-3 victory against the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, the 20-year-old winger put his play-making powers on display. He not only notched a helper on all four of Rouyn-Noranda’s goals, but he also earned the last touch on all of them. Powers set up goals from Jack Nevins (1G) and Francis Perron (1G, -1) on the power play in the opening frame to give the Huskies a quick two-goal lead. He went onto hook up with Julien Nantel (1G, +1) and Jason Fuchs (1G) in the middle frame to complete his helper quartet.
Honourable mention: Chris Driedger, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
The Ottawa Senators prospect stymied the Vancouver Giants’ offense. He stopped all 44 pucks that came his way, including 24 in the third period, to capture his third shutout on the year in the Hitmen’s 5-0 victory. Not to mention, he shut down all nine of the Giants’ power plays.
Potent notables: Danick Martel helped lift the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan with two goals in the 5-1 affair… Michael Joy (2G, +2) and Alex Loiseau (3A, +2) had big games in the Rimouski Oceanic’s 4-2 victory against Saint John Sea Dogs… Yan Pavel Laplante scored two goals and a helper for the Victoriaville Tigres in their 7-2 shellacking over the Sherbrooke Phoenix… Quebec Remparts goalie Francois Brassard posted a 34-save shutout in a 3-0 win against the Drummondville Voltigeurs… Baie-Comeau Drakkar puck-stopper Simon Limieux turned aside 34 of 35 pucks in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Shawinigan Cataractes… Connor Chatham (2G, +2) and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Ryan Hartman (2G, +2) helped lift the Plymouth Whalers over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the 5-1 contest… Erik Bradford notched one goal and three assists in the Ottawa 67’s 7-2 win against the Sarnia Sting… 18-year-old Robby Fabbri (1G-2A, +1) led the Guelph Storm to a 7-4 victory against the Belleville Bulls… Dylan Smoskowitz (2G-1A, +1) was in on all of the Oshawa Generals’ goals in their 3-2 win over the Kitchener Rangers… Vancouver Canucks first-rounder Bo Horvat and San Jose Sharks prospect Chris Tierney potted two goals and one assist apiece for the London Knights in their 7-3 win against the Owen Sound Attack… blueliner Dylan Bredo (1G-2A, +3) led the Medicine Hat Tigers over the Saskatoon Blades in the 5-2 game… Peter Quenneville (3A, +1) and Jayce Hawryluk (1G-2A, +2) had three-point nights in the Brandon Wheat Kings’ 8-1 thumping over the Swift Current Broncos… Victoria Royals netminder Coleman Vollrath stopped 36 of 37 shots in a 3-1 win against the Kamloops Blazers… defenceman Josh Hanson (3A), Winnipeg Jets prospect Nicolas Petan (2G-1A) and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand (1G-2A) padded their stats in the Portland Winterhawks’ 10-3 win over the Tri-City Americans… Seattle Thunderbirds goalie Taran Kozun posted a 35-shutout in a 4-0 victory against the Spokane Chiefs.
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen