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Three Stars of the Week: Dec. 3-9

by Brad Boron / Chicago Blackhawks

Each week, the Blackhawks Blog takes you around the AHL, ECHL, NCAA and junior hockey ranks to award three Hawks prospects the Three Stars of the Week.

1st Star: C Phillip Danault / Victoriaville (QMJHL)
The Line: 2 Games, 1 Goal, 7 Assists, +3 Plus/Minus

Team Canada opens its annual evaluation camp for its 2013 World Junior Championship team on Tuesday, and Danault, who will attend with fellow Blackhawks prospect Mark McNeill, enters the three-day gathering with a full head of steam. The Tigres went 2-0-0 this past week, outscoring opponents 11-4, and Danault registered a point on eight of those goals. The astounding week rocketed Danault up the QMJHL's top scorer list, where he now ranks 14th in the league overall with 44 points, and second overall in assists (30).

2nd Star: RW Teuvo Teräväinen / Jokerit (SM-liiga)
The Line: 4 Games, 1 Goal, 3 Assists, +3 Plus/Minus

Another week, another strong performance for the 2012 first-rounder, who racked up three points (G, 2A) in two weekend games and recorded four points overall in four games. Teräväinen ranks fourth with 19 points (8G, 11A) in just 24 games with Jokerit, which holds the league's best record.

3rd Star: G Brandon Whitney / Victoriaville (QMJHL)
The Line: 2 Games Played, 4 Goals Allowed, 64 Saves, 2-0-0 Record,

Danault's teammate in Victoriaville made the most of the Tigres' offensive explosion, winning both of his decisions on the week in convincing fashion. The netminder made 64 of 68 stops in those contests, improving his record to 11-10-1-3 on the year.

Honorable Mentions: RW Ben Smith / Rockford (AHL) and C Mark McNeill / Prince Albert (WHL)

It was a tough week for both the AHL's Rockford IceHogs and WHL's Prince Albert Raiders - each came away with one win in three tries - but prospects Ben Smith and Mark McNeill still shined for their respective teams.

Smith recorded two goals and two assists in the IceHogs' three games last week, which included a three-point (G, 2A) effort during Rockford's 5-3 win over Milwaukee on Friday. To date, the former Boston College forward has tallied in 11 of his last 13 games.

McNeill netted three of his four points for the week (G, 3A) over the weekend; he tallied a goal and assist during Saturday's 7-0 win against Medicine Hat, and recorded another assist in a 3-2 loss to Kootenay Friday.

Around the system:

> Along with Danault and McNeill, Maxim Shalunov (Russia) and Teräväinen (Finland) will also attend their respective countries' evaluation camps for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

> Defenseman Joe Gleason, currently playing for the University of North Dakota, recorded a pair of assists during two games this weekend. He recorded his first goal of the season last week.

> Despite going a combined 1-2-0 on the week, IceHogs netminders Carter Hutton and Alec Richards each lowered their goals-against average and save percentage on the season.

> Forward Alex Broadhurst scored a goal and two assists in three games with the OHL's London Knights, who have pushed their winning streak to an amazing 18 games.

> 2012 draft pick Matt Tomkins earned his first shutout of the year for the AJHL's Sherwood Park Crusaders on Saturday, and allowed just one combined goal in two wins this weekend.

> More than 5,000 teddy bears were donated to local charities during the IceHogs' annual "Teddy Bear Toss" promotion on Saturday night. At the first IceHogs goal - netted by Kyle Beach - fans were encouraged to throw teddy bears onto the ice, to be donated to charity.

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