No. 1 Star - Anthony Duclair, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
If you happen to be a goaltender who played in a Canadian Hockey League game Thursday night, you may be seeing pucks in your sleep. Of the 11 games played in the Ontario and Quebec junior leagues, eight saw the winning team record six or more goals, including Quebec's 8-2 dismantling of the Halifax Mooseheads.
Anthony Duclair, the third round pick of the New York Rangers in the most recent National Hockey League draft, recorded seven points on the night—2 goals and 3 assists—as the Remparts remain hot by winning their seventh straight hockey game and are definitely within striking distance of Baie-Comeau for that top seed (though the Drakkar have won nine straight). Still, Duclair has gone as the Remparts have: he has 25 points so far in 11 games in 2014 and has 15 points over his last four games. Seven points is also a personal best for Duclair in his QMJHL career. He's earned four points on six occasions in his 165 prior games, but had five points through two periods.
Duclair also registered an assist on each of Nick Sorensen's three goals, two of which came on the powerplay. The defending MasterCard Memorial Cup champs Halifax came uncharacteristically unglued, shown in the powerplay stats: the Mooseheads went 0-for-3 on the powerplay but the Remparts went an incredible 6-for-17. I'm not sure whether the "6" or the "17" is the noteworthy aspect of that statistic.
No. 2 Star - Bo Horvat, London Knights (OHL)
London aren't as hot as division rivals Guelph or Erie, but the Knights also managed a breakout offensive performance Thursday, jumping out to a 4-0 lead over North Bay after 20 minutes and cruising from there to a 9-4 victory. The Vancouver Canucks first rounder Bo Horvat was the points-getter on the night, recording two goals and two assists and getting two points on the powerplay helping London go 3-for-5 on the night in that department.
A somehow important night offensively for Horvat. He's been ice-cold ever since returning from Malmo and a disappointing performance at the World junior championship in December and early January. Horvat had just four points in six games to start 2014, but after a two-point game Saturday and the four-pointer against the Battalion, maybe he can get something going. Also worthwhile to mention the three-point games from Matt Rupert, Gemel Smith as well as the two-goal performance from Chris Tierney.
No. 3 Star - Ivan Barbashev, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
The main beneficiary of Vladimir Tkachev's addition to the Moncton lineup may be his Russian counterpart Ivan Barbashev. Barbashev has been in the Q for longer and was the first pick in the Import Draft back in 2012, but his offensive numbers aren't comparable to the other offensive powerhouses, particularly in the Q where skilled players have a tremendous advantage compared to other leagues. Still, Barbashev has had eight points now in the four games since Tkachev has come over, and the two could increase their NHL draft stock playing alongside one another. Barbashev was ranked 12th among North American skaters and Tkachev was ranked 14th among European skaters, and the second half of his 2014 season will probably play more into where he lands on the North American list in the final rankings.
At any rate, Moncton-Charlottetown was one of the few games in the CHL on the night where the outcome was in doubt late. Both Tkachev and Barbashev assisted on Christophe Lalonde's 30th goal on the season, scored on the powerplay with 2:48 to go in the game in front of 2190 fans. The Wildcats had a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes, but two quick goals from Charlottetown's Robert Pelletier and Alexandre Goulet's second on the night made it 3-3, and the Wildcats had to scramble to regain the advantage and got their opportunity when Troy Vance went off for interfering with Alex Dubeau. Dubeau also deserves some credit: Moncton were out-shot 40-23 on the night. Barbashev was named second star, with his assist on the late goal being his third point on the night.
Honourable Mention - Nathan Pancel, Sudbury Wolves (OHL) - The only other real close game on the schedule tonight was Sudbury-Barrie. Thanks to a three-goal outburst in the third period, the Wolves held on for a defence-less 7-5 win over the Colts, helped by two goals from Nathan Pancel, the Wolves leader in goals, now with 38 on the season. Pancel scored on a breakaway created on a turnover early in the third period, and re-directed a Kevin Raine shot with 1:48 to go on the clock. He also assisted on a Ray Huether goal late in the first period, at that time making the score 3-2 for Sudbury.
Potent Notables: All this offence and Valentin Zykov didn't earn a star? The Kings prospect had four assists in Baie-Comeau's win over Sherbrooke. Montreal prospect Charles Hudon scored twice… Pierre-Maxime Poudrier had a hat-trick in the Foreurs 8-5 win at Rouyn-Noranda, with Anthony Mantha also recording a one goal, two assist night… elsewhere in the 'O', Connor McDavid had three more assists in yet another 8-1 win for Erie, this time over the Ice Dogs… Nick Ritchie recorded a hat-trick for Peterborough and Andrew D'Agostini held on for the 23-save shutout… Belleville won't name a captain this year, but alternate Aaron Berisha had three assists in a rare win for the Bulls, 7-2 over Sarnia. Jordan Subban had two points in that game as well… Dalen Kuchmey recorded a 30-save shutout for Windsor at home to Kingston, with draft-eligible Ryan Foss getting three points.