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Liptober continues for Kamloops Blazers: Wednesday’s 3 Stars

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

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Kamloops Blazers right wing JC Lipon (Don Denton, The Canadian Press)

No. 1 star: JC Lipon, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

Liptober has reached ludicrous speed. The Blazers were playing their third road game in four nights and faced nine Edmonton Oil Kings power plays, but won 5-4 in a shootout thanks in big part to Lipon (2G-1A, +2, and a fighting major), the Western League's leading scorer. By rights, the CHL's No. 1-ranked team should have gone down to its first regulation-time loss, especially when Phoenix Coyotes first-rounder Henrik Samuelsson put the Oil Kings up with 1:59 left and Kamloops' Tyler Bell was penalized off the ensuing faceoff. However, Kamloops got the puck deep into the Edmonton zone, where Lipon was inexplicably left wide open in the slot to convert a centring feed from Colin Smith. Smith, an Edmonton native, later buried the shootout clincher to push the Blazers' record to 10-0-0-1.

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Halifax defenceman Steve Gillard (Francois Vachon, The Canadian Press)

No. 2 star: Steve Gillard, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Gillard (2G-2A, +5) was central to Halifax's five-goal rally to beat the P.E.I. Rocket 7-5, getting three of his points in the final period. The Mooseheads were in terra incognita after 40 minutes as P.E.I. killed off a major penalty and then scored successive goals to take a commanding lead. But Gillard, the overage defenceman from St. John's, N.L., fed Nathan MacKinnon for a first-minute goal and then scored himself five minutes later to put P.E.I. on perilous ground. After Halifax tied the game, Gillard fired a perfect-for-tipping point shot that Ryan Falkenham deflected home to put the Moose ahead to stay.

No. 3 star: Marc-Olivier Roy, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)

Roy (2G-1A, +1) factored into all Armada scoring in their 3-1 road win over the Rimouski Océanic in what was a well-fought interdivision battle between two of the Q's strongest teams. The 17-year-old has been off to a terrific start with his hometown team, talling 15 points and a +10 plus/minus in nine games. On Wednesday, Roy was lethal on the PP for B-B during the opening period, scoring 2:10 in and then getting the primary assist on a Tommy Giroux tally that opened a two-goal lead. The Océanic kept it close, but Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick Cédric Paquette set Roy up for the clincher with 14:43 left.

It was a good evening for 17-year-olds having two-goal nights in the Q: the Chicoutimi Saguenéens' Jérémy Grégoire and Quebec Remparts' Adam Erne also potted a pair apiece.

Honourable mention: Josh Nicholls, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

Nicholls (2G, +2) gave the Blades sufficient offence to get to overtime, where they upended the Tri-City Americans 3-2. The overage forward scored both of Saskatoon's regulation-time goals, putting the MasterCard Memorial Cup hosts on their way to another win as they climbed closer to the .500 mark. Dallas Stars prospect Matej Stransky sniped the winning goal 76 seconds into sudden-win time.

Honourable mentions: Cole Hawes & Mike McNamee, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)

Hawes (2G-2A, +3) and McNamee (2G-2A, +1) led the expansionists to their first road win with a 6-5 OT decision over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Hawes, 19, and the overage McNamee had the assists on Alexandre Comtois' extra-time winner. The two veterans were also responsible for the game going into overtime, since Hawes' second goal of the night, off a McNamee setup, with 5:31 to play tied up a wild and woolly contest.

Former Kitchener Rangers forward Brandon Lesway scored his first QMJHL goal for Sherbrooke.

Potent notables — Lethbridge's Brady Ramsay had three points in a win over Brandon ... Columbus Blue Jackets first-rounder Ryan Murray had two assists in Everett's win at Swift Current ... In the OHL, Pittsburgh Penguins-drafted goalie Matt Murray stopped 37-of-38 shots in Sault Ste. Marie's win over Sudbury. It was Murray's seventh 35-plus-save game in 11 starts ... In the QMJHL, Dmitrij Jaskin scored twice in Moncton's OT win over Acadie-Bathurst, giving hm 10 in 11 games ... world junior forward Jonathan Huberdeau was minus-4 in Saint John's loss at Quebec.

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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