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Blackhawk up as Philip Danault nets hat trick for Victoriaville; Saturday’s 3 Stars

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

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Victoriaville's Philip Danault (Getty Images)

No. 1 star: Phillip Danault, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)

The Chicago Blackhawks first-rounder had three times as many assists as goals last season, but he's turning into a finisher early on his age-19 season. Danault (3G-1A) had a four-point effort that helped the Tigres avenge their 2012 playoff sweep with a 7-3 romp over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Danault and linemates Philippe Halley and Angelo Miceli tallied 10 points combined, helping Victoriaville build an early three-goal lead and cruise to the win. Danault already has six goals in his first five games.

No. 2 star: Mitch Holmberg, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

Holmberg had a third-period hat trick that lifted Spokane to a 5-3 win over state rival Tri-City. Playing their home opener, the Chiefs were set back by a goal 11 seconds into the game and also had to crack Americans goalie Eric Comrie. Their sticktoiveness paid off in the final frame when Holmberg gave the Chiefs their first lead 62 seconds into the period, then put them ahead again five minutes later (Malte Strömwall scored in-between). Holmberg completed his hatty with 2:36 left to seal the win.

No. 3 star: Tyler Graovac, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

The Minnesota Wild draftee might have had the most hard-luck hat trick in relevant memory. Graovac kick-started Ottawa's 8-1 win over the road-weary Erie Otters by scoring a natural hat trick against NHL second-round pick Oscar Dansk in the game's opening 8:07. He might have had more, but a goal was disallowed in the second period and he also dented the post in that stanza. In any event, Graovac continued his good four-tunes. This was Ottawa's fourth game and his last hat trick on Oct. 3, 2010 was also in Ottawa's fourth game of the season.

Honourable mention: Jordon Cooke, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Cooke kicked out 43 shots to help the Rockets upset the powerful Portland Winterhawks 4-3. The 19-year-old made 30 of his saves in the first two periods to put the Rockets in position to pull off a big early-season win. The Leduc, Alta., native was rewarded when Zach Franko scored the game-winning goal in the final minute. Defenceman Myles Bell (2G-1A) also had a big night for Kelowna.

Honourable mention: Boone Jenner, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

The Gens' captain led his team to a statement win over division rival Belleville. Jenner (2G-1A, +3) scored consecutive second-period goals that helped Oshawa take command of the game; the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect also played his usual strong all-around game.

Potent notables — Draft-year forward Hunter Shinkaruk (1G-3A) had a four-point night for Medicine Hat ... Moose Jaw's Sam Fioretti had a hat trick plus an apple in a 6-1 blowout of Brandon ... Washington Capitals first-rounder Tom Wilson scored twice for Plymouth, as did Anaheim Ducks first-rounder Rickard Rakell ... Saint John's Sébastien Auger kicked out 34-of-35 shots in a win over Gatineau ... Guillaume Gauthier's first two goals of the year gave Drummondville a win over Val-d'Or.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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