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Barrie Colts’ Mark Scheifele sets up Saturday duel with Bulls: Thursday’s 3 Stars

Scheifele has 22 points in 11 games since returning from th NHL (OHL Images)

No. 1 star: Mark Scheifele, Barrie Colts (OHL)

Scheifele, who was banished for two games for a boarding major in the Colts' previous meeting against the Sudbury Wolves, got some sweet revenge with three points in Barrie's 4-1 win. The Colts were stoked because a Belleville Bulls' loss 24 hours earlier created the possibility that the Eastern Conference lead could be up for grabs in Saturday's Belleville-Barrie contest.

Scheifele (2G-1A, +3) saw to it the Colts were rewarded early. The Winnipeg Jets prospect had a subtle redirection on an Aaron Ekblad point shot to draw first blood just 49 seconds into the proceedings amid a playoff atmosphere at the Barrie Molson Centre. Scheifele later threaded a pass between two Wolves to set up New York Islanders selection Mitchell Theoret's 25th of the season. In the final frame, Scheifele showed off some safecracker hands while taking a pass on his off side and then quickly shifting forehand to beat Franky Palazzese. All told, Scheifele has 12 goals and 22 points in 11 games since the Jets returned him to junior.

No. 2 star: Greg Betzold, Peterborough Petes (OHL)

Betzold had his first multi-goal OHL game in Peterborough's biggest win of the year, as the Petes won 4-1 and pulled within two points of the Kingston Frontenacs. With captain Darryl Mathers suspended, the desperate Petes needed the Stephen Piergog-Betzold-Stephen Nosad line to have an impact at each end of the ice. Betzold, a 17-year-old who previously played for Shattuck-St. Mary's prep school in Minnesota, put Peterborough ahead to stay by scoring off a Pierog setup with 17 seconds left in the first period.

The Petes got another late-period goal from Nosad in the penultimate minute of the middle period. Betzold iced the game with a power-play goal in the third. The Petes (53 points, four games left) still have a shot to leapfrog Kingston (55 points, six to play) or Mississauga (56 with five to play).

No. 3 star: Brady Vail, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

The Montreal Canadiens selection was named first star after helping Windsor maintain its slim playoff hopes with a 7-4 win over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Vail (1G-2A, +3) helped the Spits erase an early deficit with a short-handed goal midway through the first period. The Palm City, Fla., native also kept Windsor from sagging in the second period, feeding rookie Josh Ho-Song for a goal that retied the contest at 3-3. Windsor never trailed again.

Vail has done a little of everything for Windsor, which has been perpetually strapped for healthy players. He's even gone back on defence.

Honourable mention: Ryan Strome, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

Strome (1G-1A) led a two-goal comeback as the IceDogs beat Mississauga 4-3 in a shootout, likely protecting their playoff position. The Steelheads were up by two to halfway through the third period when Carolina Hurricanes-drafted defender Trevor Carrick got a cross-checking penalty that created a 4-on-3 advantage. Strome promptly set up Brett Ritchie for his 39th goal. With 4:29 left, Strome buried the tying goal.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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