November 13, 2011
No. 1 star: Ryan Spooner, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
The 19-year-old centre is scoring at a rate that could create a cottage industry in "Free Spooner" T-shirts and sundry merchandise. Spooner, whom people assume the rebuilding Frontenacs will trade, continued his tear of the past week with five points in Kingston's 5-3 win over the Saginaw Spirit. Spooner tallied 13 points in his four games this week, including the Subway Super Series and the Fronts' first three-win skein.
The Boston Bruins prospect started off by scoring short-handed for the second game in a row, using John McFarland as a screen before snapping a shot by goalie Jake Paterson. Spooner's first assist was the sweetest, as he toe-dragged a very good defensive forward, Vincent Trocheck, leading to a rebound goal. The Kanata, Ont., native also set up two tip-in goals by captain Tyler Brown and made a sweet cross-ice pass for one-timer by Petr Beranek for an insurance goal in the third.
Not sure what this means, but Spooner's had 15 points in Kingston's five wins and only four in their 16 losses. One wonders how many more calls Fronts GM Doug Gilmour will start getting about Spooner. Presumably Gilmour will have his two BlackBerrys on silent mode during the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday.
It was pretty good Sunday for undersized, creative Boston Bruins second-round choices. Windsor Spitfires centre Alexander Khokhlachev also had a four-assist game.
No. 2 star: Marc-Olivier Brouillard, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
The elder of Drummondville's Fog brothers had a command performance with two goals and two assists in a 6-1 rout of division rival Rimouski Océanic. The 18-year-old assisted on the opening goal in the final minute of the first period, then set up teammate Jérôme Raymond midway through the second to give the Volts a cushy 3-1 lead before potting a pair for himself. With the win, Philadelphia Flyers rookie Sean Couturier's old team is in first place in the QMJHL's West Division, although that isn't saying much since they're not even .500.
It's a goalie-heavy 3 Stars, but Makarov gets the nod due to the circumstances of the Blades' 2-1 road win over the Kootenay Ice. Saskatoon, which completed a 4-0 road trip, played Saturday night against the Medicine Hat Tigers and did pull into Cranbrook, B.C., until 4:30 MT. Suffice it to say, their energy reserves were probably not as flush as they would have liked for a rematch against the Ice, who swept the Blades in the playoffs last spring. Yet Makarov, the 18-year-old Russian goaltender who could be the Blades' go-to goalie next season when they host the MasterCard Memorial Cup, kept Saskatoon close despite being outshot 29-11 in the first two periods. After Brent Benson poked home the lead goal on a power play with 4:11 remaining, Makarov came up with two solids saves on Edmonton Oilers draft pick Drew Czerwonka to nail down a big win. He finished with 36 saves, outdueling the WHL's leading goalie, Nathan Lieuwen.
Saskatoon managed to get out of Dodge with two points after a last-second shot rolled through Makarov's crease. There was snow in the forecast for eastern B.C., so here's hoping they got through the Crow's Nest Pass before any storm hit.
Honourable mention: Malcolm Subban, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
With all apologies to the late, great Jim Croce, you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask of the ol' Lone Ranger and you do not go to overtime against the Belleville Bulls. Thanks in large part to Subban stopping 32-of-33 shots and all six shootout attempts in a 2-1 win over the Oshawa Generals, the Bellevellians are 6-0 in OT games (as opposed to 6-7 in 60-minute games).
It took a power-play goal by Nicklas Jensen off a scramble for the Generals to even cadge the single point. Subban, who's stopped 111-of-116 shots in four starts since returning from an ankle injury, made several tough saves in the third-period and was 6-for-6 in the shootout. It was simply astounding that Generals shooters kept trying to beat him low since the 6-foot Subban is so flexible in the lower body.
When a team's already been in four shootouts, apparently there's a priority on giving the opposing goalie a new look. That might explain why a defenceman who's never scored an OHL goal, Jason Shaw, was tapped for the sixth round of the shootout. Shaw went blocker side on fellow Belleville native Kevin Bailie for the win.
Honourable mention: Zach O'Brien, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
The QMJHL's second-leading scorer continued piling up points with two goals and two helpers vs. in an 8-6 win over the last-place P.E.I. Rocket. The preference at BTN is to recognize players who produced in closer-checking games against high-calibre teams, but O'Brien was overdue for some recognition. He also did all his damage in the first two periods, letting the Titan build a 6-1 lead and go on autopilot for the final frame.
Honourable mention: Petr Mrazek, Ottawa 67's (OHL)
The Detroit Red Wings prospect deserved more than being on the wrong end of the league's longest shootout of the season, a 26-attempt marathon that ended with the Brampton Battalion winning 3-2. Mrazek turned aside 42-of-44 Battalion shots in the game and had no chance on the first goal, since Toronto Maple Leafs pick Sam Carrick was standing practically on top of him when he jammed the puck home.
The 67's Jake Cardwell, Marc Zanetti and Michal Cajkovsky each hit the post behind Brampton's Keegan Wilson on attempts that could have won the game. On Brampton's umpteenth reprieve, Brett Mackie buried the decisive tally.
"[Battalion wing Barclay] Goodrow told me to either go five-hole or shoot," Mackie told Rogers Television. "I don't have the hands to go five-hole, so I had to shoot."
Potent notables — Montreal Canadiens prospect Brendan Gallagher had two points in the final 10 minutes of regulation time, including the tying goal with 1:13 left, in the Vancouver Giants' 4-3 shootout win over Prince George. Gallagher has 18 goals in as many games for G-men ... New York Islanders prospect John Persson scored for the seventh game in a row but the Red Deer Rebels' six-game win streak was snapped by a 4-3 shootout loss at Victoria ... the Calgary Hitmen's Russian import, Alex Gogolev, had four points vs. last-place Lethbridge ... In the OHL, top draft prospect Nail Yakupov had three points to lead the Sarnia Sting past Mississauga 4-2 ... Khokhlachev's four-assist day came in an 8-0 Windsor win over the 13-skater Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Former Spits goalie Jack Campbell was spared a strafing by Soo coach Mike Stapleton, whose team was ravaged by suspensions and injuries ... in the QMJHL, Minnesota Wild first-round choice Zack Phillips increased his league-best point streak to 13 games in Saint John's 5-3 win over Baie-Comeau ... Twin brothers Alex and Allain Saulnier each had two points to lead the Moncton Wildcats to their fifth consecutive win ... NHL draft prospect Charles Hudon was one of five Chicoutimi Saguenéens to have two points in their 6-3 win over Blainville-Boisbriand.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (photo: Aaron Bell, OHL Images).