Last week, Matt Caria was the Canadian Hockey League's top player and this week he's unstoppable.
Caria had two goals and two assists on Friday night as the Plymouth Whalers clinched a playoff spot by doubling up on the Kitchener Rangers 6-3 in the Ontario Hockey League. Caria, acquired from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for draft picks in December, earned CHL player of the week honours last week after posting two goals and eight assists in three games.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native is on a six-game point streak, with five goals and 12 assists in that span. He sits eighth in OHL scoring with 78 points (25 goals, 53 assists) in 60 games.
On Friday, Caria scored all four of his points in the first 22 minutes of the game as Plymouth (33-23-5-0) built a 4-1 lead and never looked back.
Caria's linemates, Chris Terry and Tyler Seguin, also had strong games. Terry finished with a goal and three assists. Seguin added three assists.
The Whalers have won three in a row and nine of their last 10 to become the fourth team in the OHL's Western Conference to clinch a playoff spot. They now sit third in the conference, behind the Windsor Spitfires and the London Knights.
Elsewhere in the OHL, it was: Mississauga 7, Belleville 4; London 2, Erie 1 (OT); Sarnia 4, Windsor 2; Brampton 6, Niagara 0; Kingston 4, Peterborough 3; Guelph 6, Ottawa 4; Sudbury 4, Oshawa 3; and Owen Sound 4, Sault Ste. Marie 3.
At Kitchener, Ont., Kaine Geldart, Ryan Hayes and Beau Schmitz also scored for Plymouth. Dan Kelly had a goal and an assist, while Alex Aleardi and Jeff Skinner added goals for the Rangers (24-32-3-2).
Matt Hackett made 44 saves for the Whalers, earning his 30th win of the season. Kitchener netminding duty was split between Parker Van Buskirk, who allowed four goals on 16 shots, and Mike Morrison, who stopped 19 of 21 in replacement.
Majors 7 Bulls 4
At Mississauga, Ont., Swedish import William Wallen scored a pair of third-period goals to lift the Majors over Belleville.
David Corrente, Mike Pelech, Kaspars Daugavins, Devante Smith-Pelly and Casey Cizikas had the other goals for Mississauga (35-24-1-2), which beat the conference-leading Bulls for the third time in four meetings this season.
Cody Alcock, Nick Palmieri, Brett Mackie and Nick Pageau scored for the Bulls (42-16-2-2) as Belleville saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end.
Knights 2 Otters 1 (OT)
At London, Ont., John Tavares reached the 50-goal plateau for the second time in his OHL career, scoring the overtime winner as the Knights edged Erie.
Justin Taylor tied the game early in the third period for London (43-16-1-2). Zack Torquato had the lone marker for the Otters (30-26-3-1).
Sting 4 Spitfires 2
At Sarnia, Ont., Justin DiBenedetto scored twice and added an assist to help the Sting end Windsor's 10-game winning streak.
Jamie Arniel and Brett Appio also scored for Sarnia (30-24-3-3).
Dale Mitchell and Andrei Loktionov found the net for the Spitfires (53-7-0-1).
Battalion 6 IceDogs 0
At Brampton, Ont., Thomas McCollum stopped 28 shots for his league-leading seventh shutout of the season as the Battalion blanked Niagara.
Matt Clark, Scott Tanski, Jason Dale, Craig Moore, Derek Gregorack and Evgeny Grachev provided the goal scoring for Brampton (40-18-1-1), which reached the 40-win plateau for the second straight season. Cody Hodgson contributed three assists.
Jeremy Smith made 36 saves for the IceDogs (25-27-4-6).
Frontenacs 4 Petes 3
At Kingston, Ont., Brian Lashoff scored with less than six minutes remaining in the third period as the Frontenacs put a dent in Peterborough's playoff hopes.
Nathan Moon and George Lovatsis had a goal and an assist each for Kingston (15-35-6-3). James Marsden also scored.
Tony Romano, Brett Theberge and Justin Larson replied for the Petes (25-33-1-2).
Storm 6 67's 4
At Guelph, Ont., Taylor Beck scored twice as the Storm defeated Ottawa.
Matt Kennedy, Brandon Buck, Time Campbell and Denis Hollenstein added goals for Guelph (31-23-4-3). Nathan Martine had four assists.
Travis Gibbons, Stephen Blunden, Anthony Nigro and Thomas Kiriakou scored for the 67's (33-20-5-2).
Wolves 4 Generals 3
At Sudbury, Ont., Matt Dias scored a pair of second-period goals to give the Wolves the win over Oshawa.
Chris VanLaren and Marcus Foligno also scored for Sudbury (25-30-2-4).
Brett Parnham had two goals and an assist for the Generals (24-31-2-4), while Jeff Brown added a goal and an assist.
Attack 4 Greyhounds 3
At Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Marc Franchini capped the comeback with two third-period goals as Owen Sound downed the Greyhounds.
Joey Hishon had a goal and an assist and Josh Moes also scored for the Attack (23-23-7-7).
James Livingston scored twice and Kyle DeCoste added a goal for Sault Ste. Marie (18-40-2-2).