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Red Wings pick Andreas Athanasiou slick with hat trick for Barrie: Thursday’s 3 Stars

Barrie Colts left wing Andreas Athanasiou (OHL Images)

No. 1 star: Andreas Athanasiou, Barrie Colts (OHL)

Athanasiou (3G, +2) looks fully acclimatized to Barrie, as he had a hat trick to give him five goals in his past three games after being shut out in his first five outings for the Colts. The 18-year-old kick-started the Colts' 8-5 win over the Saginaw Spirit with a beautiful goal on his first shift, as he beat rookie defenceman Marselis Subban wide and then tucked a backhand behind fellow Detroit Red Wings draft pick Jake Paterson. Athanasiou's second goal reopened a three-goal Colts lead just 12 seconds after a Spirit tally and he completed his second OHL hat trick with a pinball goal in the third, when his pass hit a stick and ricocheted into the goal. The Colts also had three-point nights from forwards Steven Beyers, Zach Hall and Josh MacDonald, showing off their depth up front.

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"We have a lot of speed among our forwards and that's one of our biggest assets," Athanasiou told Rogers Television. "Everyone was rolling and we all did our job. We slipped away for a little bit sometimes and they made the most of it, but we got the win ... We have a really good team here and if we come and play a full 60, I don't think there's a team in this league that can take us."

No. 2 star: Michael Clarke, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

Clarke (2G-2A, +1) played his usual strong two-way game to lead the Spitfires to a 7-4 win over the division rival Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, snapping Windsor's three-game losing streak. The 18-year-old started the Spits off well by getting the primary helpers on both of linemate Derek Schoenmakers' first-period power-play goals. This turned into a rather willy-nilly contest, where the Spitfires' lead hardly felt safe — as if Windsor sports fans haven't been through enough in the last 24 hours thanks to Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde. Clarke came in for the save, so to speak, by notching a last-minute empty-netter with 43 seconds left just moments after Sergey Tolchinsky had pulled the Soo within one goal. The Colorado Avalanche scored again seconds later for good measure.

No. 3 star: Jake Cardwell, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

A big, right-handed defenceman who wears No. 27 was man of the match in the Ottawa-Niagara IceDogs tilt, but it was not Dougie Hamilton, who was merely the game's No. 2 star. Cardwell (2G, -1), who hails from Niagara Falls, Ont., had a happy homecoming with a pair of power-play goals that vaulted Ottawa to a 4-3 win over the IceDogs. The overage defender wired in the winning goal with 2:43 remaining, giving the 67's a much-needed road win after a 1-5 start. Ottawa had two-point nights from Senators first-rounder Cody Ceci and centres Sean Monahan and Tyler Graovac, along with 35 saves from overage goalie Keegan Wilson; that quartet will likely have carry the Barberpoles on a few nights this season.

Honourable mention: Mike Morrison, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

Morrison (26 saves on 29 shots), whose mask is still done up in Peterborough Petes' maroon, had a triumphant return to his old rink by backing the Fronts to a 4-3 overtime victory. The overager's best moment, naturally, came in the second period while stationed in the north-end goal he guarded twice a game last season, as he got the left pad out for the save when Stephen Nosad seemed to have Morrison dead to rights. Darcy Greenaway (2G-1A, +2) scored seconds later. The other reason Kingston stuck around was because Morrison and mates hung on after successive delay-of-game penalties gave the Petes a 58-second 5-on-3 that carried into overtime. Sam Bennett then ripped in the winner, meaning a 16-year-old forward was in on every Frontenacs goal since Spencer Watson also had three assists in regulation.

Potent notables — Defenceman Darnell Nurse (1G-2A) had three points in his expanded role on the injury-depleted Sault Ste. Marie blueline ... Spitfires first-rounder Joshua Ho-Sang scored his first OHL goal ... New York Islanders draft pick Mitchell Theoret scored his first of the season ... Petes left wing Nick Ritchie had two assists in his return from missing two weeks due to an injury.

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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