February 20, 2011
No. 1 star: Evan Bloodoff, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
The overage left wing was aptly named, drawing first blood with two early goals in the Rockets' resounding 6-3 win over division rival Vancouver Giants. With the second playoff seed up for grabs, Bloodoff got the Rockets off on the right foot with a beautiful backhand for a shortie just 3:06 into the proceedings and added the first of Kelowna's three power-play tallies about five minutes later.
The game turned on the Rockets' Zach Franko and Mitchell "Dirty Harry" Callahan cashing in on an extended power play late in the third period. The Rockets should get credit for converting on a PP without captain and Colorado Avalanche prospect Tyson Barrie, who was on the bench getting patched up after being cut by a high stick (hence the second Giants penalty).
No. 2 star: Mark McNeill, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Prince Albert's penultimate visit to the Crushed Can was a memorable one, with the Raiders shading the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2. Much of the credit was due to McNeill, who showed why he's a potential NHL first-round choice by notching an early goal and an assist and generally throwing his weight around. Thanks to the Edmonton native, the Raiders built a three-goal lead and hung on for two much-needed points, with goalie Eric Williams making 19 of his 38 saves in the final period.
The win gave P.A. a five-point lead over Lethbridge for their conference's final playoff spot with two fewer games in hand.
No. 3 star: Tyler Brown, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
The overager had one goal and two assists to help the Whalers get a split against the team they are chasing with a 4-3 home win over the Windsor Spitfires. Plymouth, which pulled within a point of the fourth-place Spitfires, could have cratered after letting a late two-goal lead get away in Friday's loss to to their cross-border rival, but Brown scored the all-important 3-1 goal in the third period, which gave the Whalers enough breathing room.
First honourable mentions: Colin Martin and Vladislav Namestnikov, London Knights (OHL)
Attention must be paid when teammates score hat tricks in the same game. Martin, who is not ordinarily a big scorer, popped in three goals and Namestnikov did the same as the Knights dispatched the Barrie Colts 7-3 in a penalty-filled game.
Second honourable mention: Nino Niederreiter, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
The Chilliwack Bruins to start backup goalie Braden Gamble, sparing starter Lucas Gore from the Winterhawks' wrath, 61 shots on goal's worth. Niederreiter had three goals and one assist in Portland's easy 6-2 win.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.