Niagara’s Ritchie silences the Storm with four-goal, six-point effort: Saturday’s 3 Stars

Scott Sepich
Buzzing The Net

No. 1 star: Brett Ritchie, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

Poor Dougie Hamilton. The defenceman matched his OHL career high with four assists Saturday night, and wasn't even one of the three stars in his own building. Teammates Ryan Strome and Mitchell Theoret posted five points each, and even they weren't the biggest story of the night.

That would be Ritchie. The Dallas Stars prospect scored four times and added two assists in Niagara's 9-4 rout of Guelph.  Ritchie figured in all four first-period goals for the IceDogs (2G-2A), then polished off his hat trick at the 14:12 mark of the second period to put Niagara up 6-3. Ritchie's fourth of the night, and ninth of the season, came with 5:10 left in regulation on the power play.

Ritchie doubled his previous OHL career bets of three points in a single game.

Meanwhile, Strome had a goal and four assists and Theoret added two goals and three helpers as he also set a single-game personal best.

On the other side of things, 16-year-old center Robby Fabbri scored the first three goals of his OHL career for the Storm, after not finding the net in his first 16 games.

No. 2 star: Matt Hewitt, Regina Pats (WHL)

The Pats have been sliding as of late, and came into play Saturday in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. And with the division-leading Prince Albert Raiders coming to the Brandt Centre, Regina needed a spark to turn its season around.

Enter Matt Hewitt, who backstopped the Pats to a 4-1 win over the Raiders with a 36-save performance. Despite being outshot 14-3 in the first period, the Pats went to intermission in a 1-1 tie thanks to Hewitt. The Pats scored three more times over the last 40 minutes as Hewitt shut the door the rest of the way.

An overager from New Westminster, B.C., Hewitt has been steady in net this season for Regina, stopping at least 90% of the shots he's faced in 12 of 14 starts. He played in 60 games last season, and likely faces a similar workload this year as the Pats try to get back into playoff position.

No. 3 star: Simon Fortier, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

The rookie from Trois-Rivières came in with just one goal in 11 games, but scored twice in less than six minutes in the third period Saturday to lift the Oceanic to a 4-1 upset win over the Quebec Remparts.

Fortier broke a 1-1 tie 7:54 into the final frame, then added an insurance goal at the 13:37 mark. Jan Kostalek's empty-netter iced it in the final minute.

Potent notables: Alex Galchenyuk (2G-2A) and Charles Sarault (1G-3A) paced Sarnia to a 7-5 win over Plymouth...Owen Sound busted open a close game with four goals in the third period to beat Erie 6-1. Gemel Smith had a goal and two assists for the Attack...Sean Monahan of Ottawa and Michael Kantor of Sudbury each had two goals and an assist, but neither figured in the shootout that gave the 67's a 4-3 win...Mark Scheifele scored three goals, including the OT winner, as Barrie downed Sault Ste. Marie 5-4...Greg Chase had three apples in Calgary's 4-2 win at Brandon...Marek Tvrdon's two goal, two assist effort helped Vancouver beat Kootenay 6-3 in a battle of last-place clubs...Brendan Rouse scored the tying goal with 5:17 left in regulation and added two assists earlier in the game as Seattle picked up a 4-3 shootout win at Moose Jaw...Troy Rutkowski scored twice and added an assist and Brendan Leipsic (1G-2A), Nicolas Petan (1G-2A) and Derrick Pouliot (3A) had three-point outings as well as Portland beat Victoria 6-2 for a second straight night...Jackson Whistle stopped 21 shots as the Kelowna Rockets recorded their second consecutive shutout, 5-0 over Prince George...Spokane netminder Eric Williams stopped 26 shots as the Chiefs blanked Everett 5-0...Justin Feser scored twice as Tri-City clipped Red Deer 5-2...Alexandre Ranger and Petr Straka each notched two goals in Baie-Comeau's 6-2 road win at Chicoutimi...Moncton shut out Blainville-Broisbriand 3-0 behind Alex Dubeau's 31 saves...Andrew Ryan had two goals and Martin Frk pitched in with a goal and two helpers as Halifax improved to 16-1-0-0 with a 5-1 win at Drummondville. The Mooseheads have won 14 straight.

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