Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Friday’s 3 Stars: McFarland snipes four for SpiritNo. 1 star: John McFarland, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

You think Johnny Mac was out to prove a point after being left off Team OHL? The Florida Panthers went off for four goals, five points and buried his shootout attempt before the Spirit succumbed 6-5 in the tiebreaker to the Ottawa 67's. Ottawa peppered Saginaw goalie Jake Paterson with 55 shots, scored a goal during a 5-on-3 penalty kill and rallied from two down late to go to overtime. Whenever McFarland slipped over the boards, though, they turned into the Washington Generals on ice.

67's coach Chris Byrne said McFarland was tough to contain.

"We tried different lines, different D pairings against him, but nothing seemed to slow him down. He had one of those nights where he was tough to stop." (Ottawa Sun)

With McFarland's big night, he and his former minor hockey teammate Tyler Toffoli are 1-2 in the OHL in goals. McFarland was so dialled in that on his shootout attempt, he went high blocker side on Ottawa's Petr Mrazek. Not many players try that, especially when a miss will end the game, but McFarland wasn't missing under any circumstance tonight.

No. 2 star: Patrik Machac, Brampton Battalion (OHL)

When the typically tight-checking Brampton Battalion win a 6-4 game, their offensive leader must be acknowledged. That applies any time and not just when No. 11 gets a hat trick on 11/11/11. Machac, 17, scored two short-handed goals, including a snipe 5:44 into the third period when he beat struggling NHL first-round pick Mark Visentin to complete Brampton's comeback from a two-goal deficit. Less than a minute later, the Czech rookie put the game away when Visentin whiffed on his dump-in from the blueline for a gift goal.

No. 3 star: Brad Ross, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect got his second goal of the game with 40 seconds left in regulation, pointing Portland toward a 6-5 shootout win over Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs, minus key forward Anthony Bardaro, among others, had the lead five times, but Ross, St. Louis Blues draft pick Ty Rattie (two goals) and NHL first-rounders Sven Bärtschi and Joe Morrow (three assists) just kept on coming.

Chiefs rookie Liam Stewart, son of actress-model Rachel Hunter and rock star Rod Stewart, set up a third-period go-ahead goal for Spokane.

Honourable mention: Patrick Holland, Tri-City Americans (WHL)

Fittingly, it took a shootout to decide a matchup of the Dub's top two teams, with visiting Tri-City escaping 4-3. No one player had a dominant night, but there were a lot of crucial performances. Holland, with one goal and one assist in a close-checking game that had only 62 shots on goal in 65 minutes, was instrumental in keeping the Ams in the game. So it was a productive trip to southern Alberta for the Lethbridge native who is also a Calgary Flames draft pick.

Honourable mention: Jack Campbell, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

The Dallas Stars prospect made 48 saves in the 'Hounds' takedown of the league's top team, a 4-3 road win over the London Knights. Campbell, 19, who's 3-0 with a 2.00 average since coming to the Soo in a huge trade last week, saved his best for the last. In the penultimate minute with the Knights pouring on the pressure, Campbell cut off the lower half of the net to deny Knights rookie Max Domi the tying goal. With 21 seconds left, he tracked a bouncing puck in the crease and gloved it an eyeblink before his fellow Michigander and possible world junior teammate, Jared Knight, could tap it home to force overtime.

Honourable mention: Igor Bobkov, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

The Anaheim Ducks goaltending prospect/project got his first OHL shutout and got the Fronts their first home win, blanking the flatlining Oshawa Generals 7-0. The 20-year-old Bobkov made 31 saves; it bears noting that he's put up a decent statline (3.31 average, .904 save percentage) while playing behind one of the league's youngest teams.

Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Spooner had two goals, including a shortie, to give Fronts coach Todd Gill his first set of back-to-back wins. How bad is Oshawa going? Gens coach Gary Agnew kept rookie Daniel Altshuller in for the full 60, a clear message goaltending was a dead issue for a team that played dead.

Honourable mention: Guillaume Asselin, Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)

The 19-year-old right wing helped the Saguenéens beat one of the Q's top teams as he had one goal and two assists, all in a 12-minute span, to lift Chicoutimi to a 5-3 home win over the Victoriaville Tigres. The Sags, champing at the bit since Victoriaville is a division rival, were down two before Asselin drew a helper on a late second-period goal. The Quebec City native got the game-winner 3:13 into the third on a setup by NHL draft prospect Charles Hudon and also assisted on the clincher five minutes later.

Honourable mention: Kurtis Gabriel, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

How many players triple their career goal output in a single game? Gabriel, an 18-year-old power winger who attended a Phoenix Coyotes camp earlier this year, had just one goal in 58 career major junior games. The 6-foot-4 Newmarket, Ont., native tallied two goals, one assist and was plus-3 to help the Attack knock off the Sarnia Sting 5-2. One of the Attack's other grind-line guys, Brendan Childerley, assisted on both Gabriel goals.

Potent notablesNew York Islanders prospect John Persson had one goal and two assists to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 5-3 win at Kamloops ... Florida Panthers prospect Quinton Howden's overtime winner gave the Moose Jaw Warriors their seventh win in a row, 3-2 over Regina ... Two Ottawa Senators prospects, the Plymouth Whalers' Stefan Noesen and Gatineau Olympiques' Jean-Gabriel Pageau, enjoyed four-point nights ... Derek Schoenmakers' second goal of the night lifted the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors to a 4-3 overtime win over the Barrie Colts in a nationally televised game. Schoenmakers, 19, already has as many goals (10) through 19 games as he had all last season. Winnipeg Jets prospect Mark Scheifele (two goals) made it eight games in a row with a point since returning from the NHL, counting the Subway Super Series ... In the QMJHL, top draft prospect Mikhail Grigorenko had three points in the Quebec Remparts' 5-2 win at Rouyn-Noranda ... rookie phenom Nathan MacKinnon was kept off the scoresheet as his Halifax Mooseheads dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, the team which originally drafted him ... The Shawingan Cataractes' Russian duo of Kirill Kabanov and Anton Zlobin each had one-goal, two-assists nights in an 8-7 shootout with Rimouski.

(Full recaps available on our news page.)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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