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Phoenix Coyotes pick Andrew Fritsch scores 4 goals in Greyhounds’ thrashing: Wednesday’s 3 Stars

Andrew Fritsch had not had a hat trick in 4 OHL seasons (OHL Images)

No. 1 star: Andrew Fritsch, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

The Phoenix Coyotes selection missed a month of this season with a high ankle sprain, but is doing much better now. Fritsch (4G-1A, +3), who has fought through injuries throughout his career, had the best night of his nearly four seasons in the Ontario league by accounting for half of the Soo onslaught during an 8-0 victory over the Sarnia Sting. The win vaulted the 'Hounds over Sarnia and kept them three points adrift of Plymouth in the West Division race. Linemate Nick Cousins, with four assists, retook the league scoring lead with 88 points ahead of Sarnia captain Charlie Sarault.

Fritsch got two power-play goals in the first period by finding a good parking spot in front of the Sting goal, where he redirected point shots by OHL defenceman-of-the-year candidate Ryan Sproul. In the second, as the game began to get out of hand, Fritsch scored a beauty goal off the rush, whooshing past defenceman Craig Duininck and slipping the puck through Anthony DeAngelo's feet before scoring on his own rebound. Fritsch, who also got a lot of help from the left wing on his line, Tyler Gaudet, tacked on another goal with a rebound effort in the third period. It was the Brantford native's first OHL hat trick.

No. 2 star: Nikita Kucherov, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)

The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect did all that he could for the Huskies, factoring into all of their scoring in a close-but-no-cigar 6-5 shootout loss at Victoriaville. Kucherov (1G-4A, +2) was the catalyst for a comeback as Rouyn-Noranda dug a 4-1 hole by the game's 21-minute mark and still trailed 5-3 after 40 minutes. Kucherov got an unassisted goal early in the third to stoke Huskie hopes and then set up Allan Caron's overtime-forcing goal. Reigning QMJHL goalie of the week Brandon Whitney recovered to stop all three shootout attempts, giving Victoriaville the win. Still, a point on the road could come in handy for the Huskies at the end of the regular season.

No. 3 star: Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

Let's go out on a limb and say P.A. needed Draisaitl's two goals in their crucial 3-1 win over division rival than some other teams needed more prolific nights from older stars during blowout wins. The 17-year-old German's pair made all the difference as the Raiders regained top spot in the Eastern Division after surrendering it 24 hours earlier to the Saskatoon Blades.

Draisaitl, who played for Germany in the world junior championship, got the first period's lone goal after a pretty passing play with teammate Dakota Conroy. The game was still up for grabs with P.A. up one 4:03 into the third when Draisaitl finished off a 2-on-1 rush.

Honourable mention: Rhyse Dieno, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

Dieno continued to have a hot stick for Red Deer, as his two first-period goals paced the Rebels to a 4-1 win over the Prince George Cougars. The 19-year-old was also strong on the backcheck when coach Brent Sutter's team went into shutdown mode. All told, Dieno, who began this season in Junior A, has 15 points in seven February games for a team which does not score goals by the bushel. Minnesota Wild first-rounder Mathew Dumba also had three assists for the Rebels from his defence spot as he had a smooth night running the power play.

Honourable mention: Mark Scheifele, Barrie Colts (OHL)

In honour of a famous Valentine's Day Simpsons episode, no doubt Scheifele would choo-choo-choose to have another game against the Ottawa 67's on the docket. The Winnipeg Jets first-rounder had a three-goal, three-assist night against Ottawa for the second time this season during Barrie's 10-1 blowout. That gave him 16 points in three contests this season between the first and worst in the OHL's Eastern Conference.

Potent notables — Carolina Hurricanes second-rounder Victor Rask scored his fifth goal in three games, but his Calgary Hitmen were shaded 4-3 at Spokane ... Veteran Curtis Valk reached the 35-goal mark during Medicine Hat's 3-0 win at Brandon. Cam Lanigan notched a 32-save shutout for the Tigers ... Toronto Maple Leafs selection Garret Sparks got his OHL-leading seventh shutout during Guelph's 2-0 win at Owen Sound in the front end of a critical Western Conference home-and-home series ... Boston Bruins first-rounder Malcolm Subban, by stopping 33-of-34 shots in a Belleville Bulls win at Kingston, leads the league in with a 2.18 average and .932 save percentage. Minnesota Wild pick Tyler Graovac had a hat trick for Belleville, giving him six goals in the past three Bulls games ... Florida Panthers prospect Vincent Trocheck had a triumphant return to Saginaw, scoring two goals in Plymouth's 5-1 for his seventh consecutive multi-point game and ninth in his past 10 games for the Whalers ... Anthony Richard, one of the QMJHL's youngest players, had his first two-goal game in Val-d'Or 4-2 win at Sherbrooke ... Seventeen-year-old Emile Poirier (3G-1A, +2) and Los Angeles Kings selection Tomas Hyka (2G-2A, +4) dominated during Gatineau's 9-1 rout of last-place Cape Breton ... Potential NHL first-rounder Valentin Zykov added to his Baie-Comeau Drakkar rookie record for goals, scoring his 34th to help beat Chicoutimi.

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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