It was a night of firsts for Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater for the 2015 NHL Draft in its midterm rankings.
McDavid had his first Ontario Hockey League hat trick Wednesday during a four-goal, two-assist performance during Erie's 8-4 win against the Guelph Storm in front of 3,349 fans at Erie Insurance Arena.
It took the 6-foot-1, 195-pound left-shot center three seasons and 156 games, but he can check off three other items on his things-to-do list prior to hearing his name called during the first round of the 2015 draft, June 26 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
"He's one heck of a hockey player but he's a team-first guy," Otters coach Kris Knoblauch told the Erie-Times News. "Right now he feels pretty good with his game. I think he's got his sights on the [OHL] scoring title and leading our team to first in the [Western] conference and success in the playoffs. He really took the team, put them on his shoulders and had quite a game."
The six-point game gave McDavid 98 points in 37 games; he's tied for fourth, 12 points behind league-leader Mitchell Marner of the London Knights, who has 110 points in 53 games; Marner is No. 7 on Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters.
McDavid also is one point shy of the 99 points he had in 56 games last season. His 36 goals are an OHL career-best.
On Wednesday, McDavid scored the first two goals of the game and then completed the hat trick 49 seconds into the third period off an assist from fellow top prospect Dylan Strome (No. 5 on NHL Central Scouting's list); Strome is second in the OHL with 104 points in 57 games. McDavid scored his fourth goal at 13:19 on the way to earning first star of the game.
"I guess I just had some good chances," McDavid said. "I was fortunate enough to be able to bury a couple."
He became the 10th player in Erie history to score four times in a game and the first since Jan. 4, 2014, when Dane Fox did it against the Owen Sound Attack.
McDavid has 89 goals and 263 points in 156 OHL games in three OHL seasons. Erie (33-22-4) has 11 regular-season games remaining before the start of the playoffs.