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Drouin finishes off productive January with four-point night – Thursday’s 3 Stars

Nathan MacKinnon (right) and Jonathan Drouin (The Canadian Press)No. 1 Star - Jonathan Drouin, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Jonathan Drouin has arguably been the better of the two Halifax top prospects since the IIHF U-20s. Since that tournament, what's keeping Nathan MacKinnon above Drouin in the rankings is body of work, and I think the recent production of Drouin leading up to the draft could keep his name fresh in the minds of casual fans following along.

Drouin finished off January with 7 goals and 11 assists, punctuated by a two goal-two assist performance in the Mooseheads' blowout win over Chicoutimi Thursday night. The pedestrian MacKinnon has only 8 goals and 5 assists in the month of January and only had a goal to go along with his two assists against the Saguenéens.

It's an interesting debate no doubt, although I would point out that Drouin's January shooting percentage, i.e.: the time we've seen of him in the "Q" since the world juniors, is 26.0%, well above his normalized career shooting rate of 17.6%. MacKinnon's 15.6% shooting percentage is closer to his career total of 15.0%, so MacKinnon is producing at a normalized rate.

Still, who wants to worry about math? Both players had exceptional games, will go high in the draft, and Zachary Fucale also got a 26-save shutout.

No. 2 Star - Blake Clarke, Brampton Battalion (OHL)

Here's some more math for you: Blake Clarke, who turned 17 a week ago, now has his third two-goal game at the OHL-level. The Wildwood, MO native and former St. Louis Midget had two goals and an assist for the Battalion over their Kennedy Rd. rivals down in Mississauga.

Clarke's second goal and 17th on the year, scored on a two-on-one rush with Nicholas Foglia, proved to be the game-winner, was scored at 15:35 of the second period to make the game 4-1. His goal held up as Riley Brace and Trevor Carrick added goals in the 17th minutes of the second and third frame, but Troops goaltender Matej Machovsky repelled most of the Steelheads attack in the third period, stopping 9 of 10 shots.

No. 3 Star - Jeff Corbett, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

Jeff Corbett is somewhat of a stranger to the scoresheet. The '94-born first-time draft defensive prospect had lit the lamp just twice in his first 72 Ontario Hockey League games with Sudbury, but counted two goals for the Wolves Thursday night as Franky Palazzese made 31 saves in a 4-1 win for Sudbury.

He scored his first on a big blast from the point set up from Kevin Raine, his second coming on a powerplay early in the second period poking in a scramble down low. You wouldn't expect a big defensive defenceman to be that deep on a powerplay with the lead, but he got the job done, and the Wolves earned a big win allowing them to keep pace with Brampton and open up a six-point cushion on the IceDogs in the tight Eastern Conference.

Potent Notables: Just two games in the WHL. 2014-eligible Tyson Baillie scored twice for Kelowna and Jordon Cooke made 28 saves in a 6-1 win by Kelowna over Victoria… Turner Elson and Rhyse Dieno each had a pair for Red Deer in a 6-2 win against Kootenay… a lot of blowouts tonight, 8 different goal-scorers tallied in P.E.I.'s 8-0 win against Cape Breton, Antoine Bibeau earning the 20-save shutout… Nick Ritchie had three assists for Peterborough and the Petes out-shot Windsor 48-35 in their 7-5 win.

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