April 27, 2011
No. 1 star: Cody Eakin, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
The ordinary superstar lifted Kootenay to a 3-0 series lead, scoring his third game-winning goal in succession and factoring into all Ice scoring by notching two assists in a 3-1 Game 3 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers.
In game where flow was inhibited by a couple of delays — Ice forward Drew Czerwonka was stretchered off after being injured, for instance — Eakin helped set up a tone by setting up Max Reinhart just 6:33 in on a timing play. The Washington Capitals prospect then put Kootenay ahead in the second period, then made a great drop pass to Jesse Ismond for the third-period insurance marker.
Eakin just went back-to-back as the Western Hockey League's player of the week. Now he's done it in the 3 Stars. The centre's greatest trick wasn't even noted in the scoring summary. Late in the third period with Linden Vey and Emerson Etem, et al., pressing, Eakin negated a Tigers power play in the third period by chipping a puck out of the Ice zone and pressuring Medicine Hat goalie Tyler Bunz to leave his net. Flustered, Bunz's clearing attempt went over the boards for the delay-of-game penalty and the Ice bled out the clock.
Meantime, there is one Louuuuuu in B.C. who has not been giving fans anxiety attacks over the past week. (Joke still works no matter what Roberto Luongo did !) He would be Ice goaltender Nathan Lieuwen, who only had to face 23 shots, but stopped Etem on a 4-on-1 rush in the third period and also stopped a 2-on-0 breakaway in the final seconds.
No. 2 star: Louis Domingue, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
The Phoenix Coyotes draft choice silenced the doubters, making 14 of his 27 saves in the third period to lead the Remparts steal a road win and take the series lead by beating the Gatineau Olympiques 2-1. The main subplot of the series was the goaltending matchup of Domingue and Gatineau's Maxime Clermont, a New Jersey Devils draft choice. Domingue is coming out ahead, as he's held the fort across the course of successive one-goal wins in which the Remparts scored the tying and winning goals in the final period.
No. 3 star: Zack Phillips, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
The 18-year-old centre, a likely NHL first-round pick, had three assists to help Saint John move into sweep position with a 5-2 Game 3 road win over the Lewiston Maineiacs. Phillips was evidently consistent, since he was in on a goal in each period. The Sea Dogs, who can close out the series Wednesday, also got a typical two-point night from Jonathan Huberdeau and a 28-save outing by Columbus Blue Jackets-drafted goaltender Mathieu Corbeil.
Honourable mention: J.P. Anderson, Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors (OHL)
The splendid southpaw looks dialled in again. Anderson handled 26-of-27 shots and did not allow an even-strength marker to help the Majors defeat the Niagara IceDogs 4-1, wrapping up the franchise's first Eastern Conference title in just five games. All told, he has a 1.68 goals-against average and .931 save percentage during the second season.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.