Eric Tangradi is playing the best hockey of his career, and the Belleville Bulls couldn't be happier.
Tangradi scored a hat trick and added an assist to lead the Belleville Bulls to their fifth straight victory, a dominant 8-2 victory over the Erie Otters on Saturday night in the Ontario Hockey League.
Tangradi sits fourth in OHL scoring with 61 points (28 goals, 33 assists) in 39 games, eclipsing his previous season total of 60 points in 56 games.
A second-round Anaheim Ducks draft pick in 2007, Tangradi was on a 15-game point streak before being held off the scoresheet in a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa 67's on Wednesday. The Philadelphia native has seven goals and five assists in five appearances this January.
On Saturday, Tangradi opened the scoring five minutes and 44 seconds into the game as Belleville held a 2-1 lead after the first period. Tangradi and Brandon Mashinter both scored in the first minute of the second to stretch the lead to 4-1. That would end up being enough for the Bulls, who fired 47 shots in the first 40 minutes and outshot the Otters 68-36 overall.
Elsewhere in the OHL, it was: Peterborough 5, Saginaw 4; Barrie 3, Kingston 1; Owen Sound 5, Guelph 4; Plymouth 4, Sudbury 2; and Sarnia 4, Sault Ste. Marie 2.
At Belleville, Ont., P.K. Subban and Cody Alcock had a goal and an assist each for the Bulls (31-13-2-2), who hold a four-point lead on the Brampton Battalion for top spot in the Eastern Conference. Shawn Lalonde and Scotte Howe also scored, while Luke Pither added four assists.
Mike Cazzola and Brian Shaw found the net for Erie (23-22-2-0).
Mike Murphy made 34 saves for Belleville, while Otters netminder Shane Owen stopped 60 shots.
Petes 5, Spirit 4
At Saginaw, Mich., Ryan Spooner scored twice and Jason Missiaen made 55 saves as Peterborough stole a win from the Spirit.
Zach Harnden, Zack Kassian and Pat Daley added goals for the Petes (20-27-0-2), who came back from a 3-1 deficit midway through the game. Adam Sedlak chipped in with three assists, while Brett Theberge and Jeff Braithwaite had two helpers each.
Joe Pleckaitis, Chris Chappell, Jakub Svoboda and Jack Combs scored for Saginaw (26-17-0-3), which fired at least 19 shots in every period, outshooting Peterborough 59-30 overall.
Colts 3, Frontenacs 1
At Barrie, Ont., Adam Payerl's early third-period goal was the eventual game-winner as the Colts handled Kingston.
Alex Hutchings opened the scoring in the first period and Kyle Clifford added an empty-netter for Barrie (21-23-3-1).
James Marsden scored a power-play goal midway through the third for the Frontenacs (9-31-5-3).
Attack 5, Storm 4
At Owen Sound, Ont., Joey Hishon scored two goals to help the Attack upset Guelph.
Andrew Wilkins and Garrett Wilson had a goal and an assist each for Owen Sound (17-19-6-5). David Kolomatis also scored.
Matt Kennedy scored twice for the Storm (26-17-2-3), while Tim Priamo and Tyler Melancon added goals.
Whalers 4, Wolves 2
At Plymouth, Mich., Matt Caria and Chris Terry each had a goal and an assist as the Whalers downed Sudbury.
Tyler J. Brown and Vern Cooper also scored for Plymouth (22-20-5-0), while A.J. Jenks contributed two helpers.
The Wolves (19-21-2-4) got both goals from 2008 OHL first-overall draft pick John McFarland.
Sting 4, Greyhounds 2
At Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Ben O'Quinn scored the game-winner with less than six minutes remaining in the third period as Sarnia defeated the Greyhounds.
Matt Martin and Jamie Arniel had a goal and an assist each for the Sting (24-19-2-3) and Steve Reese added a short-handed marker.
Jordan Nolan and Kyle DeCoste scored and assisted on each other's goals for Sault Ste. Marie (16-28-2-1).