No. 1 star: Cain Franson, Vancouver Giants (WHL)
The Giants forward, who is working his way back to top form after being sidelined with a concussion in his crucial 19-year-old season, had three points in the 7-2 win over rival Victoria. The Giants, coming in on a seven-game losing streak, got a shot of confidence when Franson (2G-1A, +3) scored late in the opening period to open the scoring; he then set up Jackson Houck (1G-2A, +3) with eight seconds left in the frame. That no doubt deflated the Royals. Defenceman Brett Kulak and Franson scored 37 seconds apart in the third to blow the game open.
No. 2 star: Rhyse Dieno, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Not bad for someone who has spent much of the season in Junior A. Dieno (2G-2A, +3) spoiled the Regina Pats' Jordan Eberle sweater retirement night by helping the Rebels rout the flat Pats 5-1. Dieno, who coincidentally wears the same No. 14 Eberle now wears for the Edmonton Oilers (he wore 7 in the Queen City), began this season with the La Ronge (Sask.) Ice Wolves and even got to play in the World Junior A Challenge. However, he's been putting up points steadily since joining Red Deer. The Davidson, Sask., native put Red Deer ahead for good midway through the second period and added a third-period insurance goal, both off setups by Tanner Elson.
No. 3 star: Adam Lowry, Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Lowry (3G-1A, +2) had a hat trick and did everything he could in a losing cause in the Broncos' 6-5 road loss to the Kelowna Rockets. Also, the Winnipeg Jets draft choice had a pretty sweet penalty-shot goal after being chopped down a short-handed breakaway and sliding heavily into the boards.
The Broncos unofficially had two short-handed goals in the same, yet somehow lost. Hey, Kelowna is a good team at home.
Honourable mention: Sam Mckechnie, Lethbridge Hurricanes
The 'Cane Train rolled to a 6-2 win over the defending WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings with offence coming from many sources. Mckechnie scored two goals during the second period, when Lethbridge chased Team Canada goaltending aspirant Laurent Brossoit to the bench after allowing four goals on 20 shots. Mckechnie, who has 14 goals for the season, put Lethbridge up 3-0 with a power-play tally, then Jay Merkley buried 69 seconds later to put Brossoit on the bench. Mckechnie made sure to be an equal-opportunity offender later in the period, when he scored on backup goalie Tristan Jarry to put the game out of reach at 5-0.
Honourable mention: Petr Straka, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
The overage Straka (3G, +2) led the Drakkar to a 6-3 comeback win over the Gatineau Olympiques as Baie-Comeau snapped its four-game losing streak. The Drakkar dug itself a 3-1 hole, but Straka, the former Columbus Blue Jackets second-round pick, resurrected them with a goal midway through the second period. He also extinguished Gatineau's potential-upset flame with another snipe that put B-C up 5-3 with 8:31 to play, before adding an empty-netter.
Potent notables — Curtis Lazar scored both Oil Kings goals, giving him successive two-goal games to start December after going 0-for-November ... In the OHL, Anaheim Ducks draft pick Joseph Cramarossa scored the winner and set up both regulation goals in the Belleville Bulls' 3-2 OT win over Peterborough. Detroit Red Wings third-rounder Alan Quine set up both Petes goals ... Dallas Stars selection Gemel Smith ended a seven-game goal drought, getting the late third-period equalizer in Owen Sound's 3-2 shootout win over Plymouth ... in the QMJHL, Tomas Pavelka was the game's first star in P.E.I.'s 4-2 win over Quebec.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
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