Buzzing The Net

Windsor Spitfires’ Chris Marchese nets last-minute game-winner; Thursday’s 3 Stars

Windsor Spitfires' Chris Marchese (OHL Images)No. 1 star: Chris Marchese, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

Marchese (two goals, +2) went stick-side for the tiebreaking goal with 44 seconds left, lifting the Spitfires to a 4-2 win over the Canadian Hockey League's fourth-ranked Kitchener Rangers. The winner came off a broken play against the Rangers' best defencemen, Ryan Murphy and Ben Fanelli. Fanelli knocked down Marchese's pass to Brady Vail. Vail chased down the puck in the right-wing corner and centred the puck to a driving Marchese, who had space for himself to pop a shot by goalie Franky Palazzese.

Marchese, a former Erie Otters first-rounder, looked impressive on a line with his fellow 18-year-olds, Vail and left wing Ben Johnson. Marchese also scored earlier in the game by nicking the puck from overage defenceman Ryan Hanes at the Rangers blueline and speeding in on net before Murphy could get over to contain him. The Vail-Johnson-Marchese line also helped contain Kitchener's top guns; Tobias Rieder did score a goal, but it was off a turnover during a power play.

No. 2 star: Stephen Harper, Erie Otters (OHL)

Harper (2G, +1) and Connor McDavid (2A, +1) added to a good night for Erie first-rounders, be they current or former Otters. The 17-year-old left wing scored his first two goals of the season in a span of 4:05 in the first period to help Erie earn the first win of the McDavid era by beating the Peterborough Petes 5-1. Harper went to the dirty area to open the scoring and bury a rebound 8:34 into the game. Four minutes later, he pulled a how's-she-goin' spin to elude Connor Boland in the right-wing corner, froze another defender, Clark Seymour, and was able to bury his own rebound.

Harper was named the game's second star; Columbus Blue Jackets second-rounder Oscar Dansk took top honours after stopping 47-of-48 shots. It could easily be Dansk in this spot, but someone is being stubborn about having to break out the "Oscar Worthy" and "Dansk Dansk Revolution" puns.

No. 3 star: Jake Patterson, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

The Detroit Red Wings draft pick bought time for the Spirit shooters to find the mark, making 27 of his 30 saves in the first two periods of a 5-0 shutout win against the Sudbury Wolves. Patterson, 18, was frequently under pressure throughout the opening 40 minutes as Saginaw clung to a one-goal lead. He vexed the Wolves, who had only three shots in the final period after giving up a late second-period marker to Russian rookie Andrey Alexeev.

Honourable mentions: Eric Comrie, Tri-City Americans; Austin Lotz, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

The 17-year-old goalies were stingy in the lone Western League tilt of the night. Comrie (28 saves on 29 shots), who's likely to be the first Western League 'tender drafted next summer, shook off giving up an short-handed goal in the game's third minute to help the Ams earn their first win of the new season. Lotz (33-of-35) matched his more highly regarded counterpart for much of the night and did not allow an even-strength goal. The graduate of the Eastman Selects midgets had a good bounce-back from his first start of the season last week, when he was lifted after two periods in a loss to Prince George.

Potent notables — Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Mark Scheifele (1G-1A) helped Barrie edge rival Owen Sound 4-3 in a shootout. St. Louis Blues-drafted goalie Jordan Binnington made 36 saves for the Attack.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (videos: TV Cogeco, Windsor Star).