Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Friday’s 3 Stars: Career night for Erie’s CairnsNo. 1 star: Luke Cairns, Erie Otters (OHL)

Attention must be paid when a 17-year-old centre has his first five-point game to lead his team to its first win of the season. While one wonders how whether the defensive intensity in the Otters' 7-5 home win would surpass that of your dad's regular Sunday pickup game, Cairns was catalytic for a team that was desperate for a win. The native of Stoney Creek, Ont. — hey, my sister lives there! — got the Otters rollling with three first-period assists, including one on defenceman Travis Wood's first OHL goal. (Wood's parents drove in from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania for the game; even gooder.) Cairns also scored a big goal late in the second to put the Otters up 5-3, driving hard to the goal and rapping in his own rebound, then got what proved to be the winner with 9:55 left after Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Greg McKegg harassed Owen Sound's Matt Petgrave into a cough-up.

Oh, and McKegg had a team-record six assists. But he was only the second star.

No. 2 star: Emerson Etem, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

Someone is shooting for a 50-goal season. Etem had a mortarboard trick as he scored all of the Tigers' goals in their last-minute 5-4 loss to the Victoria Royals, becoming the first WHLer to reach double digits (11 goals in five games). Typically, it's BTN policy to only put players whose teams won in the 3 Stars. However, considering the Anaheim Ducks first-round choice was the game's first star over a home-team defenceman, Victoria's Hayden Rintoul, who had four points and the game-winner with 24 seconds left, it's reasonable to assume the speedy Etem was dazzling. One can only presume Etem wishes he had another season in the Dub or Victoria had returned to the league a year or two earlier — he had six goals in two games in what will likely be the only time he plays on Vancouver Island.

No. 3 star: Michael Clarke, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

Clarke, who grew up as a London Knights fan, sowed the seeds of his hometown team's first loss of the season. The 17-year-old forward  had a hat trick and chipped in one assist (that's what the game stories say; the league says two goals and two helpers) to help the Spitfires beat the CHL's No. 1-ranked Knights 5-2. Considering it was Clarke's first time playing regular minutes in one of junior hockey's most pitched rivalries, getting four points is pretty sweet.

Honourable mention: Tyler Vanscourt, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

A hat trick on the road in a 5-0 romp? That will do. Vanscourt, a 19-year-old native of Corona, Calif., celebrated being on home soil by scoring the first two Raiders goals in the opening period to help Prince Albert take control of the game. He completed the trick with a power-play goal early in the third period off a setup from Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick Mark McNeill. All in all, it was a great night for P.A., which got 36 saves from goalie Eric Williams while their forwards chased Colorado Avalanche goaltending prospect Calvin Pickard.

Honourable mention: Tobias Rieder, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

The Edmonton Oilers draft choice also had a hat trick, leading the Ryan Murphy-less Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Saginaw Spirit. Rieder sapped the Spirit with a short-handed goal with 10 seconds left in the second period that put Kitchener ahead to stay. The German import didn't do any laurel-resting, as he counted just 1:15 into the third to open a 3-1 lead. Rieder completed his hatty with an empty-netter.

Honourable mention: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)

The 'Piques captain put his stamp on a 6-3 home win over the Drummondville Voltigeurs, scoring goals 70 seconds apart in the third period to put the game out of reach. Pageau, as you know, is a draft choice of the Ottawa Senators, whose fans can use all the hope they can get these days. Pageau also chipped in an assist.

Honourable mention: William Racicot, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)

This Racicot cannot be called Red Light. Racicot stood his ground in a marathon nine-round shootout, denying six Shawinigan Cataractes in a row to help the Armada prevail 4-3 and take the bonus point. Racicot was decent during the actual hockey game, handling 35-of-38 shots.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports . Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (photos: CHL Images).

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