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  • Brayden Point has 51 points as a 16-year-old rookie (The Canadian Press)

    No. 1 star: Brayden Point, Moose Jaw Warriors (OHL)

    What was that? The Warriors salved their disappointment over being mathematically eliminated one night earlier by scoring five unanswered goals to win 5-4 and snap the Saskatoon Blades' 18-game win streak.

    Point (2G-2A, +2) had two goals and an assist in a span of just more than 5½ minutes in the third period when the Warriors treated a crowd the local Times-Herald described as "the 1,200-or-so fans that braved the blizzard" to a treat by tying the game. The 16-year-old Calgarian, who turned heads when he joined Moose Jaw for their playoff run last spring, deked out a defenceman to set up Jordan Messier for the 4-2 goal 6:55 into the third period. Point, who has 51 points in 61 games as a rookie on a team which does not score much, then potted a rebound goal to shave the Blades' lead to one. Then he tied the game, going down 1-on-1 and wiring a shot between the legs of Colorado Avalanche-drafted defenceman Duncan Siemens and by two-time Russia world junior goalie Andrey Makarov.

    Point wrapped up the night with an assist on Tanner Eberle's overtime winner.

    Read More »from Brayden Point part of a Moose Jaw miracle: Sunday’s 3 Stars
  • Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder Morgan Rielly had the overtime assist for Moose Jaw on Sunday (The Canadian Press)

    If the Saskatoon Blades had not lost the way they did, then Bridge City's most famous fabulist, Yann Martel, would have had to cook up the plot.

    Generally speaking, a MasterCard Memorial Cup host team should not blow a four-goal third-period lead and lose 5-4 in overtime to the out-of-contention Moose Jaw Warriors, even though the Warriors do boast Morgan Rielly. It's not exactly a show of killer instinct; in fact, Blades assistant coach Jerome Engele said in a post-game interview that the unravelling really started in the second period, when Saskatoon began to miss the mark with its passes and thus failed to bury the Warriors.

    Point being, though, maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happened. Saskatoon, who by dint of the loser point moved ahead of the Calgary Hitmen for the second-best record in the WHL's Eastern Conference, probably had some puck luck during their streak, along with favourable schedule. It probably just evened out on Sunday, because the events that helped Moose Jaw come back to win were as far-fetched as the plot of Life of Pi.

    Read More »from Saskatoon Blades’ 18-game win streak ends on a series of strange plays on a snowy night
  • Patrik Bartosak set a WHL season high for saves in a shutout SaturdayNo. 1 star: Patrik Bartosak, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

    The Red Deer Rebels might be the WHL's quietest success story, and if Bartosak keeps playing like he did between the pipes on Saturday, the Rebels could be a nightmare to deal with in the postseason.

    Bartosak stopped all 52 shots he faced in a 3-0 win over the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday night, and set the WHL's season high in shots faced in a shutout. The 19-year-old Czech netminder now leads the league with a .935 save percentage in 50 games, and has posted at least .930 in every month this season other than September (during which he only played three games).

    Bartosak's fourth clean sheet of the season was his crown jewel, as he stood tall in the third period as the Broncos fired 24 shots his way. With the win, the Rebels moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference as Prince Albert lost at home to last-place Brandon.

    No. 2 star: Reid Boucher, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

    Boucher became the first CHLer to hit 60 goals with a hat trick in a wild 8-7 win at Saginaw in an important battle for playoff seeding. In the process, he erased the single-season franchise record previously held by Steven Stamkos.

    Stamkos defenders will probably note that he compiled his 58 goals for Sarnia in 61 games in 2007-08, while Boucher took 63 games to break the record. But Boucher's run has been impressive in its own right, considering the New Jersey Devils prospect only scored 28 times last season and leads the CHL goal-scoring race by 13 this season.

    By beating the eighth-place Spirit on Saturday, the Sting moved eight points ahead in the race to avoid the league-leading London Knights in the first round of the playoffs.

    Boucher scored all three of his goals in a bizarre second period in which the Sting scored six times on nine shots. Two of Sarnia's goals came in the last 30 seconds of the period, and Boucher's 60th at the 19:52 mark but the Sting up 8-5 and chased Saginaw goalie Jake Paterson from the game. Paterson only faced 17 shots in 40 minutes and allowed all eight goals.

    The Spirit rallied with two goals in the third on 19 shots, but couldn't pull even.

    No. 3 star: Tyrell Goulbourne, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

    Though he's just 5-foot-11, Goulbourne is well-known for his willingness to go toe-to-toe physically with anyone in the WHL. What he's not well-known for is scoring goals.

    In fact, the 18-year-old from Edmonton never had a multiple-goal effort in 148 previous WHL games until he lit the lamp four times Saturday in a 7-1 rout of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

    Goulbourne scored once in the first period, then twice more in the first 5:48 of the second to wrap up the hat trick. He got one more in the third to cap off a night he'll never forget.

    The Rockets remained five points clear of the Kamloops Blazers for the B.C. Division lead heading into their meeting Sunday in Kamloops.

    Read More »from Bartosak repels 52 shots as Rebels blank Broncos: Saturday’s 3 Stars
  • The Moncton Wildcats were debating what to do about Ross Johnston's 15 game suspension and they finally acted Friday.

    The team announced they will appeal Johnston's suspension in an effort to get him back in the lineup sooner. Johnston has sat the last four games, and, if the suspension is upheld, he will sit until the third game of the QMJHL playoffs.

    Normally, league rules state that the appeal must be announced three days after the announcement of the suspension, in this case Feb. 24. Johnston's suspension was announced Feb. 21.

    Johnston was suspended after breaking the jaw of Halifax's Brian Lovell with a stick swing in a game last month. No penalty was called on the play, but an isolated video of the play that the Mooseheads posted to YouTube went viral.

    Read More »from Moncton Wildcats appeal Johnston’s 15-game suspension
  • Portland Winterhawks coach-GM Mike Johnston (Portland Winterhawks)When the Western Hockey League suspended Portland Winterhawks head coach-GM Mike Johnston for the remainder of the 2012-13 season for his involvement in player-benefit violations in late November, everyone in the organization was stunned to say the least.

    “We were all blown away by it,” says Winterhawks interim-head coach Travis Green, who was the team’s assistant prior to the suspension. “Everyone was a little in disbelief. No one seen it coming and didn’t think anything like that would happen.”

    The players were confused, having no precedent to know what would happen next.

    “I didn’t see it coming, but I don’t think anyone did,” says Winterhawks leading goal-scorer Brendan Leipsic. “We didn’t know what would take place after. Everyone was just shocked and couldn’t really believe it happened.”

    “It was a tough time for our team,” says star forward Nicolas Petan. “We didn’t think it was fair and the league didn’t explain everything to us in much detail. No one really knew exactly what was

    Read More »from Portland Winterhawks’ motto: ‘win it for Mike’
  • Zach Nastasiuk is Central Scouting's 33rd-ranked North American skater (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    There is little not to like about Zach Nastasiuk, what with that big-bodied frame NHL teams crave and a family tree that has all manner of sports equipment hanging off seemingly every branch.

    The 6-foot-1, 191-pound right wing, who turns 18 at the end of this month, is having a superb sophomore season while helping the Owen Sound Attack get in contention for the Ontario Hockey League championship. Nastasiuk, who was lauded for his play away from the puck even during his 16-year-old season, has given Owen Sound a good confluence of two-way play, size up front and decent hands. His two-goal night Thursday in an Attack loss to his hometown Barrie Colts — Owen Sound fans would be quick to tell you their beloveds prevailed 4-1-0-1 in the Highway 26 season series — gave him 16 goals and 32 points in 54 games, with a +18 plus/minus. Those numbers are in line with what another Barrie-area winger, Garrett Wilson, produced in his age-17 season before going on to be a 40-goal scorer and captain of an OHL championship team in his final season.

    Nastasiuk notes his skating will need to catch up to his growth, but he seems mature beyond his years. For that, he credits his father Paul Nastasiuk, who earned a Grey Cup ring during his CFL career with the Toronto Argonauts. Zach wears his father’s old No. 27 for the Attack. His older sister, Samantha Nastasiuk, sports the same digits for the Western Mustangs women’s hockey team.

    "I think I'm pretty strong mentally,” says Zach Nastasiuk, who is NHL Central Scouting’s 33rd-ranked North American skater. “My dad has helped me with knowing what it takes. He played professional football and knows what can happen sometimes in sports. You're going to get yelled at, this can happen, the fans can get on you. You just have to zone it out.”

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Zach Nastasiuk, Owen Sound Attack
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...


    With Saskatoon Blades skipper Lorne Molleken on the verge of 600 career coaching wins, people might want to start talking about him reaching Ken Hodge's all-time Western League record of 742. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    The prospect of the Regina Pats missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons has team president Brent Parker feeling rueful: "I don't think people believe me when I say that it bothers me. I think people think we're backing the Brink's truck up over here, and nothing could be further from the truth." (Regina Leader-Post)

    Speaking of milestones, with little fanfare Tri-City Americans captain Justin Feser is about to set the league's iron-man record with 312 consecutive games played. How is the man he's tied with, Dwayne Newman, doing these days? Newman: "I'm 41 and I'm still playing." (Tri-City Herald)

    Draft-year goalie Eric Comrie, a potential NHL first-round pick, is progressing well in his recovery from hip surgery. (Tri-City Herald)

    Aside from Henrik Samuelsson getting a two-game suspension, the Edmonton Oil Kings' excursion to Portland could not have gone much better. Somehow one doubts the defending champions slip up against Everett. Nice try, Derek Laxdal. (Edmonton Journal)

    The Portland post-mortem from Paul Buker has all caps! "It’s hard to ignore the fact the Oil Kings MUSCLED THE HAWKS all over the ice. They beat them up physically, wore them down, dominated the third period, and finally broke through to win the game. (Oregon Live, Portland Tribune)

    Young defenceman Colby Harmsworth is getting a lot of on-the-job training while the Calgary Hitmen wait for injuries to heal. (Calgary Herald)

    Young centre Logan Fisher likely joins the Victoria Royals' MIAs for a crucial two-game series against Spokane that could decide the fifth seed in the Western Conference. (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    Spokane Chiefs first-rounder Tanner MacMaster has committed to Boston College. Going to McMaster University was ruled out since it doesn't have a hockey team and its football team got walloped in the Vanier Cup. (Taking Note)

    Interesting read: Kamloops Blazers defenceman Travis Hansen might forgo playing an overage season in order to begin his two-year Mormon mission. (Kamloops Daily News)

    The Brandon Wheat Kings have joined the ranks of the mathematically eliminated; three down, nine to go across the CHL. (Luber's Lounge)


    Patrick King looks at what goes into the handling of a 15-year-old exceptional player through the eyes of one player and one GM. (Sportsnet)

    Read More »from Faksa, Murphy return for Rangers; milestone nights for Feser and Molleken: Friday’s coast-to-coast
  • Petes rookie Jonatan Tanus (OHL Images)

    No. 1 Star - Jonatan Tanus, Peterborough Petes (OHL)

    The Peterborough Petes have been on a surprising run as of late. There are seven games to go in the OHL's regular season, and all of a sudden the Petes are just 2 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. At one point before the start of Jody Hull's tenure in late December, the Petes were 16 points out.

    But they're still two out after a 4-3 shootout win against Ottawa on Thursday, and the Frontenacs have a couple of games in hand. The Petes got two late shorthanded goals to come all the way back from a 3-0 deficit to tie to the game 3-3 in front of 2560 fans at the Memorial Centre. It was the first year Finnish import, Jonatan Tanus, who tied the game with Michael Clarke in the box for cross-checking with just 1:01 on the clock.

    Things aren't rosy for the 67s, and you can forgive a team for not playing well with the lead when they haven't had too many on the season, but the comeback (the other shorthanded goal, scored earlier in the third, came from Nick Ritchie) could prove instrumental. Tanus scored the only goal in the shootout for the win. It's worth noting that down 3-0 by the end of the first, the Petes peppered the Ottawa net with shots. Clint Windsor, the journeyman backup and—by name merits—future news anchor, stopped 43 of 46 in the loss, and two of three in the shootout.

    No. 2 Star - Olivier Archambault, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

    Not a lot of action in the CHL tonight with just nine games cross-country, and few of them meant much. The contest between the Voltigeurs and the Saguenéens was important for Drummondville because leap-frogging a team or two in the stretch run means getting to play P.E.I. or Rouyn-Noranda in the first round of the playoffs rather than Moncton or Québec.

    Read More »from Comeback win keeps Petes in playoff hunt – Thursday’s 3 Stars
  • Liam Herbst led his Mississauga Rebels midgets to the OHL Cup title last March (OHL Images)

    If you doubt that young hockey players today play and train more than is healthy for developing bodies, then forgo reading the latest update about London Knights first-round selection Liam Herbst.

    The NHL has its one goalie prototype — 6-foot-2, preferably taller and able to make the net disappear when he drops down into the butterfly position. Minor hockey is very much a monkey-see, monkey-do enterprise compared to even other youth sports that people take way too seriously. However the NHL does it should be emulated all the way down to the novice age group. So you get a coach at the atom age level who wants to win teaching a 'system' to 10-year-olds and, five years later, a midget coach wondering why those same kids cannot properly receive a pass. Or young goalies putting stress on their joints by learning the butterfly. Reading about Herbst is reminiscent of hearing about prepubescent pitchers who have needed Tommy John surgery.

    This is written in full hope Herbst will not be a sacrificial lamb. London used its first-round pick last spring to draft the 6-foot-3 Herbst out of minor hockey. First he needed surgeries to repair cartilage damage to each knee. The Knights announced in December that Herbst would not play again this season. As Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star detailed, Herbst's health situation is grim, if not entirely bleak.

    Read More »from London Knights’ Liam Herbst has had 4 surgeries and might need 2 more: a cautionary tale with growing young goalies
  • As the sarcastic server of suds Carla Tortelli Lebec once put it on Cheers, "What fight? I've had sneezes that lasted longer."

    It's been a trying season for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, who have the poorest record in all of major junior hockey and it might have felt even longer after what happened to right wing Raphaël Corriveau when he decided to stand up for his teammates during their latest loss on Wednesday.

    In the third period, right after the Saint John Sea Dogs had gone ahead 4-2 to take control of the game, Corriveau and Sea Dogs tough guy Maxime Villemaire squared off. Only the referees could not in good conscience assess fighting majors, instead penalizing the pair off-setting delay of game penalties because one jab by Villemaire caused Corriveau to fall down. It starts 2:10 into the Sea Dogs' recap.

    Read More »from Cape Breton Screaming Eagles’ Raphael Corriveau tumbles, causing shortest fight in QMJHL history


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