BRAMPTON, Ont. - Matt Duchene had a welcoming gift for his teammates returning from the Canadian world junior championship.
Duchene, one of the most highly touted prospects heading into the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, scored a career-best three goals and two assists as the Brampton Battalion routed the Sudbury Wolves 6-2 on Thursday night.
The Battalion's lineup was reinforced by the return of Canadian world junior gold medallist Cody Hodgson and Russian bronze medallist Evgeny Grachev, and Duchene had nothing but praise for the pair.
"Cody and Evgeny had unbelievable tourneys," said Duchene. "Playing without them for a handful of games here in Brampton was tough, but it's great to have them back."
Elsewhere in the OHL, it was: IceDogs 1, Colts 0; Spitfires 4, Sting 1; and Petes 4, Bulls 2.
At Brampton, Ont., Grachev had a goal and two assists while Hodgson tallied once and added a helper for the Battalion (24-13-2) who solidified their lead atop the Eastern Conference's Central Division. With the loss, Sudbury (18-18-4) saw their winless streak extended to three.
Kyle DeCoste had the other Brampton goal, with John McFarland and Eric O'Dell scoring for Sudbury.
IceDogs 1, Colts 0
At St. Catharines, Ont., newly-acquired goaltender Jeremy Smith stopped all 33 shots he faced as Niagara shaded Barrie.
Smith and Colts' (18-19-2-1) Michael Hutchinson were locked up in a goaltenders' duel for most of the game, until Chris DeSousa scored his 22nd of the season for the IceDogs (15-18-4-4) at 15:25 of the third period.
Spitfires 4, Sting 1
At Windsor, Ont., Taylor Hall's league-leading 24th goal of the season on a short-handed effort was the game winner as the Spitfires (34-5-0-1) beat Sarnia (19-18-2-2).
Andrew Engelage made 28 saves in picking up his 30th win of the season. The overage netminder became just the fourth goalie in Windsor's 34-season franchise history to reach 30 wins.
Petes 4, Bulls 2
At Peterborough, Ont., Sergey Korostin had two goals and an assist to lead the Petes past Belleville.
Zack Kassian had a goal and assist and Jamie Doornbosch also scored for the Petes (18-22-0-2).
Nick Palmieri and Bryan Cameron scored for the Bulls (26-13-2-2).