Tonight's feature game on Sportsnet pit the Red Deer Rebels against the Memorial Cup host Saskatoon Blades. The show was taken over by starting goalie for the Czech Republic at the IIHF U-20s, Patrik Bartosak, in his second game back from Ufa. Bartosak made 37 stops on 38 saves, several of the highlight-reel quality, including a late-game stop on Blades' forward Josh Nicholls moving from across his crease to stone the potential 3-2 goal at the doorstep. Bartosak was named the game's first star and Red Deer held on for a 3-1 win.
The Rebels' other Czech import, Dominik Volek, opened the scoring in the first period. Winnipeg-select Lukas Sutter nearly tied it on a two-on-one later in the period, sneaking a shot through Bartosak's chicken wing but it bounced off the post. Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov had a rough stretch in the second period, allowing goals to Rhyse Dieno and Turner Elson in quick succession.
The Rebels' road victory ends a small two-game losing streak, as they improve to 14-9 since Brent Sutter took over the club in November.
No. 2 Star - Max Domi, London Knights (OHL)
It was a 17-year old showcase for the London Knights in a night when goaltender Anthony Stolarz made his anticipated Knights debut. The Flyers pick surrendered 5 goals on 38 shots, but it hardly mattered. Max Domi scored two goals and added three assists. Bo Horvat and Remi Elie each had a goal and an assist, while Kyle Platzer had two assists on his own. Credit to Brandon Sudeyko for pointing it out, the '95s combined for four goals and seven assists as the Knights put up a 10-spot on the Ottawa 67s.
The Knights continue to roll. They're the best team in the OHL by a long-shot, 19 points ahead of 2nd place Owen Sound (although the Attack have two games in hand) and they haven't lost in regulation since the beginning of November, a 28-game streak. They're finding offence in all avenues, which helps if your new goaltender gives up five.
No. 3 Star - Matthew Boudreau, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Meanwhile, the feature game in the QMJHL saw Halifax face Blainville-Boisbriand, a battle between the No. 1 and No. 5 place teams in the Q, on a night that saw the return of the Mooseheads' stars to their lineup. However, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin were both held scoreless, Drouin, as well as Martin Frk, had a single assist.
It was Matthew Boudreau, the 1993-born St.-Joseph-du-Lac native, who scored his 30th on the year in the first period, and helped pace Halifax to a 4-2 win over the Armada. The Mooseheads increase their lead at the top of the standings to 11 teams, and, while their league-leading offence is much discussed, also impressive is Zachary Fucale, who stopped 28 of 30. The Mooseheads have allowed a league-low 110 goals.
Honourable Mention - Sven Andrighetto, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
The Huskies had a tough test in Baie-Comeau, but won 4-3 in OT off Mathieu Brisebois' 7th goal on the season, assisted by the Swiss star at the world juniors Sven Andrighetto. The Huskies had two goals in the first period, and one late in the second, all of those being assisted on by Andrighetto. He had four on the night, but wasn't given a star on the night in the building. The Drakkar outshot the Huskies 48-19, and Rouyn-Noranda got a strong performance from goaltender Carl Hozjan making 45 saves.
Honourable Mention - Sam Reinhart, Brock Montgomery, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Kootenay hosted Medicine Hat tonight in a wild west shootout in Cranbrook. Overager Brock Montgomory and 2014-eligible Sam Reinhart each finished off hat-tricks late in the third period and the Ice won a 7-5 game against the Tigers. Reinhart bookended the scoring with his 17th and 19th on the season, 1:21 into the game and a rare insurance goal with :25 seconds to play that wasn't fired into an empty net. Former Kamloops Blazer Cam Lanigan was lit up for all seven Kootenay goals.
Honourable Mention - Jordan Subban, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
I like to avoid giving stars and mentions to overage players, since they tend to do much of the scoring for their teams if put in the right situation. Joseph Cramarossa had a hat-trick and two assists in Belleville's 8-2 win over the Frontenacs, but draft-eligible Jordan Subban drew praise for his goal and three assists and a +4 performance. The Fronts got the first two of the game, from Ryan Kujawinski and Sam Povorozniouk, but the Bulls roared back in the final 50 minutes of the game to score four times in the second period, where all of Subban's point scoring took place, his 8th of the year coming on the powerplay midway through the frame.
Potent Notables - Vincent Trocheck had two assists in his first game with Plymouth… Franky Palazzese shut out Mississauga in his first start with Sudbury, stopping 27 shots… Marvin Cüpper shut out Quebec 4-0, stopping 32… Peter Trainor and Alexandre Lavoie combined for seven goals and twelve points in Rimouski's 9-1 smash job over a depleted Saint John… '96-born Jake Virtanen scored twice for Calgary in their 6-1 win over Regina… Tristan Jarry got a start and stopped all 23 to shut out Lethbridge… his opposite Ty Rimmer faced 46 shots, and conceded goals to four different Oil Kings… Brett Zarowny of Prince George stopped all 44 Kamloops shots for a 1-0 shutout…