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Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Strome direct the Garden City miracle: Saturday’s 3 Stars

Dougie Hamilton (left) and Ryan Strome (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

No. 1 stars: Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Strome, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

It's a coach job to always foresee disaster lurking. When Sudbury Wolves coach Trent Cull vociferously argued a too-many-call against his team with 5:31 left, people might have wondered why he was so upset since his team was leading the Niagara IceDogs 5-1.

It turned out to be prophetic. Hamilton (1G-2A, +1) and Strome (4A) set up a goal off the ensuing faceoff, igniting the damnedest comeback in a month of Mondays. Niagara scored four goals in the final 5:30 of regulation, including twice in the final 30 seconds, before Strome and Hamilton each converted in the shootout for the 6-5 win.

Strome, the New York Islanders prospect, assisted on all four of the goals during the rally. The IceDogs twice scored goals fewer than 45 seconds apart, sandwiched around a penalty kill, to force OT. Hamilton got the 5-4 goal with 27.3 ticks on the clock after Strome fed him the puck at that point. With scarcely little time to tie the game, Niagara gained the offensive zone and Strome zipped a cross-crease pass that Dallas Stars prospect Brett Ritchie one-timed home with :07 on the clock.

Sudbury goalie Joel Vienneau extended the game to a shootout even though the puck barely came out of the Wolves zone in overtime. Strome was first to score, moving left to right to roof a shot over the goalie's glove. A stop and a Hamilton conversion sealed what's likely the most unlikely win the IceDogs have enjoyed in their six seasons in St. Catharines.

Strome's last assist made him the first OHLer to reach 50 points this season and third in the entire CHL.

No. 2 star: Tyler Sandhu, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Sandhu, all 155 pounds of him, kept bouncing up after taking some big checks and had his first two-goal game in the Dub to help the 'Tips top Kootenay 4-3. Sandhu was part of Everett's return in the Seth Jones trade with Portland last spring and has had a good start to his 16-year-old season with 12 points overall. On Saturday, he was back with Manraj Hayer and Josh Winquist (who had been out five weeks with an injury). Sandhu had two excellent finishes within the game's first nine minutes to put Everett ahead. The Silvertips, rather than reeling from the loss of captain Ryan Murray, have three home wins in a row.

No. 3 star: Nikita Serebryakov, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

The young Muscovite earned his first major junior win by stopping 32-of-33 shots in the Spirit's 2-1 win over the Kingston Frontenacs. Serebryakov, who only turned 17 on Nov. 1, is gaining confidence with every appearance and he rewarded coach Greg Gilbert's confidence in him by holding off a very fast-skating team. The Frontenacs' only goal came on a 5-on-3 power play. It was a nice table-turn by Serebryakov, considering that he nearly had his first win in a previous game against Kingston but lost in a five-round shootout.

Honourable mention: Mark Scheifele, Barrie Colts (OHL)

Scheifele (3G-1A), the most NHL-ready forward in the OHL, lead the Colts out of a two-game skid with his hat trick in a comeback 5-3 win over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The 19-year-old scored in the first off a sweet setup from Boston Bruins prospect Anthony Camara, then tied the game with 9:57 left by burying a rebound from a tight angle. Scheifele also broke up several Greyhounds passes in the last minute while preserving the lead before he got the empty-netter.

Honourable mention: Jake Patterson, London Knights (OHL)

Patterson had a 21-save shutout to help the Knights take over the league lead by beating Owen Sound 3-0. The undrafted 18-year-old matched Jordan Binnington (37 saves on 40 shots) save for save until London's non-stop pressure could produce a gaol. Patterson made a big breakaway save on Cameron Brace in the first period that might have swung the game.

Honourable mention: Jacob Chouinard, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)

Chouinard gave his former team some comeuppance by making 43 saves to help the expansion Phoenix score a 2-1 road win over the Rimouski Océanic. The fifth win of the season for the first-year team owed greatly to their overage goalie, who stopped 18-of-19 first-period shots to keep the Phoenix from falling into the here-we-go-again downward spiral of a struggling team. Fellow overage Alexandre Comtois set up both Phoenix goals, including Dominic Talbot-Tassi's first Quebec League marker and Jean-Christophe Laflamme's winner with 4:53 to play.

Honourable mention: Dmitri Jaskin, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)

Jaskin (1G-2A) was tapped as the first star as Moncton's big four forwards combined for 14 points in a 6-5 home win over Baie-Comeau. Jaskin did all of his damage in a 3:24 span of the second period with two power-play assists and his 19th goal in 25 games that put Moncton ahead for good. Alex Saulnier (2G-3A) and Allain Saulnier (2G-2A) also had big days for the 'Cats.

Potent notables — Carolina Hurricanes pick Keegan Lowe scored with one second left in OT to give Edmonton a 2-1 win over Medicine Hat ... Nashville Predators pick Brendan Leipsic had four points in Portland's 8-2 pounding of Seattle ... Colorado Avalanche seventh-rounder Colin Smith scored both Kamloops Blazers in a 2-1 win over Vancouver ... Myles Bell had his second three-point in a row as Kelowna drilled depleted Saskatoon 9-2 ... In the OHL, Matt Puempel had a hat trick in Kitchener's win at Erie. The Ottawa Senators prospect has scored 31 per cent of (21 of 68) the Rangers' goals ... Signed Florida Panthers pick Vincent Trocheck (1G-1A) led Saginaw past Kingston 2-1. Trocheck was honoured prior to the game for setting the Spirit's career assist record ... Linemates Alex Galchenyuk (1G-3A, +3), Charles Sarault (1G-4A, +3) and Reid Boucher (2G, +3) combined for 11 points in Sarnia's 8-2 wipeout of Peterborough ... Winnipeg Jets pick Scott Kosmachuk's hat trick in Guelph's 7-5 win over Ottawa gave him eight points in three games this week. Rookie Dante Salituro had three assists for the 67's, who dressed more rookies (10) than veterans (9) ... In the QMJHL ... Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov had his second consecutive two-point game since joining Rouyn-Noranda ... Saint John overage defenceman Pierre Durepos had two assists and was plus-3 in his season debut.

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

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