The Carolina Hurricanes second-rounder had one of his best games in a Storm uniform, as his hat trick helped Guelph shrug off an indifferent opening 20 minutes to beat Niagara 5-3. The slumping IceDogs unexpectedly led 1-0 after Ryan Strome set up a short-handed goal with one second left in the second period. The unrest at the Sleeman Centre spiked when the Storm couldn't score on a long 5-on-3. However, after Tyler Bertuzzi sniped a goal, McGinn tallied twice in a 2:19 span to give Guelph control of the game.
What a force Brock McGinn was in the second period for the Storm.Was a dominating presence at both ends & sniped two nice goals.
— Steve Fitzsimmons (@playbyplayguy) February 23, 2013
McGinn scored again in the final frame for the hat trick. The Fergus, Ont., native has 24 goals in his third season, more than his rookie-sophomore totals combined.
No. 2 star: Matej Stransky, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
It was a good night for Dallas Stars assistant general manager to take a look at his talented forward prospect with the Saskatoon Blades. Matej Stransky (3G-1A) continued his hot streak in Saskatoon's franchise-record 14th consecutive win Friday night over Brandon:
Nice timing for @dallasstars prospect Matej Stransky to score a 1st period hat-trick. Stars assistant GM Les Jackson is in the building.
— Cody Nickolet (@WHLFromAbove) February 23, 2013
In Stransky's first 215 WHL regular season and playoff games, he had scored 2 goals in a game 11 times, but had failed to record a hat-trick. During Saskatoon's win streak, Stransky has 13 goals and 11 assists, and if you believe in the random, ritualistic, mostly-determined-by-team-play statistic +/-, he's a +18 over the last 14 games.
Sure, Stransky was doing well before the winning started, but he's indubitably been Saskatoon's best player during their recent run. With Prince Albert dropping a point in Calgary tonight, Saskatoon now has a comfy five-point cushion on first place in the Eastern Division.
No. 3 star: Vincent Dunn, Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
It's always nice to outscore your hometown team while getting your first hat trick. Dunn, who can put up points, play a defensive role and drive opponents up the wall, got a natty hatty during Val-d'Or's 5-2 home win over the Gatineau Olympiques. The 17-year-old from Gatineau, Que., who only made the birthday cutoff for the NHL draft by one day, scored late in the first period to pull Val-d'Or out of an early deficit. Dunn got the lone goal of the second period, then buried the backbreaker 1:57 into the third to help his team pull away. On the season, Dunn has 25 goals and 48 points in 47 games, commendable numbers for someone who is a young 17.
Honourable Mentions: Reid Boucher & Charlie Sarault, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
The Ontario league's highest-scoring tandem gorged itself on the all-you-can-score spread generously laid out by the mathematically eliminated Erie Otters. Boucher (4G-2A, +6), with his mortarboard trick, moved within one of Steven Stamkos' Sting season record of 58 goals in a season.
His centre Sarault (7A, +6) started the night seven points behind Sault Ste. Marie's Nick Cousins in the scoring race and ended it one back. Cousins does have the advantage with 10 games remaining on his schedule and just 8 left on the Sting slate.
Stamkos set the Sting standard as a 17-year-old. Boucher being this close to the record is tribute to how he applied himself to improving his quickness and elusiveness after his first major junior season. That has complemented his hiccup-quick shot and made the New Jersey Devils draft pick nearly unstoppable.
Honourable mention: Brooks Macek, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
An honourable mention could have gone to a number of players in the thriller at the Calgary Saddledome that unfortunately had to end in a shootout. The Hitmen held four separate one-goal leads and two two-goal leads, yet ultimately were the team that had to play catch-up as the Prince Albert Raiders made the score 5-4 midway through the third period.
Brooks Macek ended up with two assists, but also the shootout winner. Leon Draisaitl, the scary-big, scary-young German national scored his 17th and 18th on the season, including the go-ahead goal for the Raiders on the powerplay. An unlikely hero, Jaynen Rissling, whose career-high in goals is five, tied the game up with just over 2 minutes to play. Macek scored the lone goal after a scoreless overtime on a backhand shelf move in the shootout. The win clinches a playoff spot for the Hitmen.
Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly (1G-1A) and rookie Brayden Point(1G-2A) paced the Warriors' offence in a 4-3 win over Regina … Eetu Laurikainen's 39-save effort was wasted as Swift Current dropped a 2-1 shootout to Medicine Hat. Miles Koules got the winner in the extra shots … Patrick Bartosak picked up his first shutout since December 1st, making 32 saves, in Red Deer's 2-0 win over Lethbridge. Opposing goaltender Ty Rimmer stopped 28 of 29 … A better result for Ty Rattie (2G-1A), who scored goals 36 and 37 in a 6-2 romp over Prince George. Draft-prospect Nic Petan (1G-1A) scored his 43rd … Oil Kings' 5'8" depth player Cole Benson had his first WHL hat-trick in Spokane albeit in a 6-4 loss. Overager Brendan Kichton (0G-3A) and 19-year old Mike Aviani (2G-0A) led the Chiefs' offence. Rare night where both Edmonton goalies saw action … Converted winger Myles Bell had a pair of goals and a pair of assists in an 8-3 win for Kelowna in Victoria, becoming the first road team to win on Vancouver Island since December 5 ... Boston Bruins selection Cody Payne had his first OHL hat trick during Plymouth's 9-1 romp over Windsor. Anaheim Ducks prospect Rickard Rakell also had three goals for the Whalers, whose seven-game win streak has moved them six points clear in the West Division race ... Goalie Matej Machovsky's 35 saves helped the Brampton Battalion beat the Mississauga Steelheads in the likely final game between the Peel Region rivals ... Dominik Kahan and Nate Pancel each had two goals in Sudbury's 5-3 win over Barrie, which was the Central Division-leading Colts' third consecutive loss. Detroit Red Wings selection Andreas Athanasiou (2G-1A) was in on all Colts scoring ... Alex Broadhurst (1G-0A) scored the OT winner for London in a 4-3 win over the Soo Greyhounds. First star in that game went to Chris Tierney, who tied it up 1:31 after the Soo scored three unanswered to take a 3-2 lead in the second ... In the QMJHL, Jonathan Drouin (3A) ran his point streak to 22 ... games during Halifax's 6-1 win at Saint John ... Acadie-Bathurst overage Zach O'Brien's two goals not only vaulted the Titan over Cape Breton 3-2, but it gave him his second 40-goal season. Dmitrij Jaskin (1G-3A, +2) and Yannick Veilleux (2G-2A, +3) each had four points as Moncton dropped Drummondville 7-3 ... Sportsnet's feature game Friday saw Kamloops roll up 6-0 over Vancouver, earning goals from six different goal scorers. Overage former Philadelphia pick Brendan Ranford scored 10 seconds into the game off a great early forechecking play from J.C. Lipon.
(With files from Neate Sager)