The Planonian was on another planet for about 20 minutes on Saturday, pathologically unable to do anything but put the puck in the Guelph Storm net or get the biscuit to someone else who could put in the basket. Noesen had three goals and five points in the first period alone to help the Whalers spank the Guelph Storm 9-3 to take a 3-2 series lead.
The Ottawa Senators first-rounder, who who's been nearly unstoppable in the series with 13 points, scored a short-handed goal just 2:11 in and then set up another shorty by Rickard Rakell midway through the stanza. That would have been a pretty good period for anybody, but Noesen was just getting started. After Guelph levelled at 2-2, Noesen and Mitchell Heard each scored twice within a four-minute, seven-second span to put the game out of reach. All told, over the past three games Plymouth has outscored Guelph 21-6 heading into Sunday's Game 6 in the Royal City. The big night moved Noesen into second in playoff scoring.
No. 2 star: Jake Paterson, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
The 17-year-old became the first Spirit goalie to ever win a playoff clincher on home ice, stopping 23-of-24 shots in the 3-1 win that eliminated Alex Galchenyuk, Nail Yakupov and the Sarnia Sting. Paterson was tested early in the series when the Spirit lost successive overtime games, including one at home, but across the past three games he showed a maturity beyond his years.
The downside, of course, was that the series-long goalie duel between Paterson and veteran JP Anderson ended early. The Sting veteran's night — and probably his time in the OHL if the San Jose Sharks move him up to the pros next fall — ended after he was struck by a shot on the side of the head. The Spirit greeted backup Brandon Hope with two goals and that was the series.
Paterson had a 2.67 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in the series.
No. 3 star: Ryan Strome, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
The New York Islanders first-round choice was Niagara's closer, scoring two third-period goals to salt away their 5-3 Game 5 win over the Oshawa Generals. Oshawa rookie goalie Daniel Altshuller (54 saves) held up well despite being peppered more than college basketball fans celebrating a Final Four victory, so the score was tied 2-2 entering the final period. After the IceDogs went ahead for good, Strome unloosed two hard, accurate shots from the centre point for his fourth and fifth goals of the series. The centre has had 10 points in five games.
Honourable mention: Norm Ezekiel, Barrie Colts (OHL)
The Colts' utility man, who plays both defence and forward, had a star turn in their 2-1 Game 5 victory over the Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors. Ezekiel scored the winning goal off a a rebound with 12:12 to play. That goal came fewer than six minutes after Colts centre and Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Mark Scheifele was knocked out of game by a check from behind (and Barrie had even more reason to feel set back by that since it didn't score on the ensuing four-minute power play). Thanks to Ezekiel being their guts and glue, they are up 3-2 in the series heading to Mississauga on Monday.
Potent notables — The Sarnia Sting's Tyler J. Brown, Brett Thompson and Adrian Robertson saw their junior careers end on Saturday. Boston Bruins second-round pick Ryan Spooner left the game with an injury ... Niagara's Carter Verhaeghe scored his first playoff goal.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
- Guelph Storm
- Plymouth Whalers