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Three Stars of the Week: March 11-17, 2013

by Emerald Gao / Chicago Blackhawks
(Daniel St. Louis/Moncton Wildcats)

1st Star: C Phillip Danault, Moncton (QMJHL)
The Line: 4GP, 6A, +2 plus/minus

Moncton wrapped up its regular-season game with four games in seven days, due to weather-related postponements from earlier this season. Danault collected six assists in three of the four tilts, including three on March 13 in a 6-1 victory over Saint John and a pair on March 17 in a 5-2 win at Acadie-Bathurst. Danault logged nine goals and 32 assists in 27 games for Moncton, and his 85 total points (including 14G, 30A with Victoriaville) were second-most on the team. The Wildcats finished the regular season with a 42-23-2-1 record and will face Victoriaville—Danault’s former team—in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs.

(Courtesy Rockford IceHogs)

2nd Star: LW Jeremy Morin, Rockford (AHL)
The Line: 3GP, 3G, 1A, +1

Last week, Rockford won two one-goal contests against their division rivals, the Chicago Wolves, with Jeremy Morin netting both game-winners. Morin had two points in each game—a pair of goals on March 15 and a goal and an assist two nights later. Morin's 25 goals rank first on the team, and his 45 points already constitute a career high. He has six tallies in his last six games.

3rd Star: C Brandon Pirri, Rockford (AHL)
The Line: 3GP, 4A, +2

Pirri notched four assists in three games last week for the IceHogs, collecting three in a 4-3 victory over Chicago on Friday and the fourth on Morin's game-winner on Sunday. Pirri continues to lead Rockford with 51 points and 33 assists this season. Rockford currently sits in 11th place in the AHL's Western Conference but is just one point out of a playoff spot, with 14 games left in the regular-season schedule.

Honorable Mention: C/RW Mark McNeill, Prince Albert (WHL); G Henrik Karlsson, Rockford (AHL)

Raiders captain Mark McNeill tallied twice and added a helper in the final weekend of regular-season play, as his team swept a two-game set against Saskatoon. Prince Albert finished fifth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference and will face the Red Deer Rebels in the first round of the playoffs.

Two starts translated to two wins for Henrik Karlsson last week, as the Swedish netminder made 41 saves on 45 shots, all against the Chicago Wolves. Karlsson has a 6-3-0 record, 2.33 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in nine games for the IceHogs this season.

Around the system:

  • The Ontario Hockey League concluded regular-season play over the weekend, and a couple of Blackhawks prospects will start the hunt for postseason glory by facing one another. Alex Broadhurst logged two points (1G, 1A) in the final two regular-season games for London and finished third in scoring for the top-seeded team in the league. Broadhurst and the Knights will face eighth-ranked Saginaw, led by captain Garret Ross, who finished with 90 points, second-most amongst the Spirit, and was tied for the team lead with 44 goals. Ross also collected a team-high 114 penalty minutes in just 61 regular-season games.

  • Goaltender Mac Carruth ended his record-setting 2012-13 regular season with a 30-7-0 record in 39 appearances for Portland, including a club-record seven shutouts. The Winterhawks will try to reach the Chynoweth Cup championship series for a third consecutive season when they begin their playoff run against eighth-ranked Everett.

  • Two Blackhawks blueline prospects will face each other in the CCHA playoffs, as Sam Jardine and Ohio State prepare to take on Stephen Johns and Notre Dame on March 23. The Buckeyes won their best-of-three quarterfinal series against Ferris State to advance to the Championship bracket at Joe Louis Arena.

  • In the WCHA Final Five, third-ranked North Dakota, featuring defensemen Joe Gleason and Nick Mattson, will face Colorado College on March 22 at the Xcel Energy Center. The winner of that game will face 2010 draft pick Justin Holl and second-ranked Minnesota in the semifinals the next night.

  • Matt Tomkins started all three of Sherwood Park’s playoff games last week, going 1-2-0 against Spruce Grove. The Crusaders trail their second-round series 2-1, with a Game 4 schedule for Monday night.

  • Kent Simpson went 2-1-0 in three starts for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye last weekend. In his two wins, Simpson made 70 saves on 74 shots for a .946 save percentage.
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