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Buzzing The Net

Laurent Dauphin leads CHL Top Prospects Game 3 Stars

Darnell Nurse knocks down Oliver Bjorkstrand (Andrew Vaughan, The Canadian Press)

HALIFAX — Buzzing The Net's Three Stars from Wednesday's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, won 3-0 by Team Orr over Team Cherry:

No. 1 star: Laurent Dauphin, Team Orr / Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)

The last player added for the game was a show-stealer, setting up the game's opening goal and burying the second to give Team Orr an edge it never relinquished. Dauphin (1G-1A, +2) was an illness replacement for the Medicine Hat Tigers' Hunter Shinkaruk and was even given the WHL star's No. 14 jersey. He bounced back from being body-checked heavily by Ryan Hartman heavily on the game's first shift to create the game's first goal. Off a nice zone entry, Dauphin pulled up and fed Seth Jones, whose hard, low shot created a rebound that fellow Quebec Leaguer Adam Erne (1G, +2) deposited behind goalie Zachary Fucale .

"It was a great experience," Dauphin said. "I was not supposed to be here and I was able to take my chance and do my best."

Early in the second, Dauphin, who is NHL Central Scouting's 41st-ranked North American skater, scored for a 2-0 lead. The centre came down 1-on-2 and caught defencemen Eric Roy and Jordan Subban in that no-man's land of either trying to play the puck or leave the shot to their goalie. Dauphin's shot, which might have been redirected, beat Fucale. Dauphin narrowly missed another goal in the second period, hitting the post. Either way, it was a breakout night for the rookie who helped his Collège Esther-Blondin midget team win the silver medal at the Canadian championship last season.

No. 2 star: Spencer Martin, Team Orr / Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Martin stopped all 16 shots he saw in the first half of the game, turning a two-goal lead over to 'closer' Philippe Desrosiers, who completed the shutout. The Oakville, Ont., native suppressed Team Cherry's best shooters with nine opening-period saves, turning aside Subban on a partial break and making a great skate save on hometown hero Jonathan Drouin when he seemed to be in a prone position.

"That was a really awkward save," Martin said. "I wasn't sure if I should cover it or not. It was sitting there and I managed to get my foot out."

Martin, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound goalie who is best described as a battler, has had ups and downs in the OHL this season. His save percentage has dipped from .934 at the end of October to .909, but Central Scouting's fifth-ranked North American goalie looked locked-in during his 31-minute stint.

"The stats haven't been the same as in the beginning, but I'm starting to get it back, especially since the beginning of January," Martin said. "That's been encouraging."

No. 3 star: Nikita Zadorov, Team Orr / London Knights (OHL)

The hulking defenceman, with all due respect to Team Orr captain Seth Jones, might have been the best defenceman in a white jersey. Zadorov created the turnover that led to Nic Petan's 3-0 goal for Team Orr, stepping up at centre ice and bodying Valentin Zykov off the puck, causing a change in flow and a rush that Petan finished off after a saucer pass from Anthony Duclair. Zadorov also put a charge into the announced crowd of 10,595 by plastering Anthony Mantha at the second-period buzzer. In the final frame, the Knights rearguard helped preserve the shutout as he and defence partner Madison Bowey did some good work in their own zone to help keep Drouin and MacKinnon from getting to the net.

Jones was also superb, notching a first-period assist and also helping contain MacKinnon.

Honourable mention: Tristan Jarry, Team Cherry / Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

The Delta, B.C., native stopped 15 shots he faced over the final 28:39 of the game, keeping Team Cherry in the hunt.

"This is the guy who saved our ass," Don Cherry said while sitting next to Jarry in a post-game media conference.

Entertainment value: B+

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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