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IceDogs’ Eric Ming last-minute saviour in big win: Thursday’s 3 Stars

March 14, 2014

Ming (centre) scored with 41 seconds left to force overtime for the ‘Dogs (OHL Images)

No. 1 star: Eric Ming, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

A team of pups will surely get some run in the second season, thanks to their bearded overage bringing them back for a 5-4 shootout win over the Mississauga Steelheads. The final two playoff positions in the Eastern Conference were up for grabs Thursday as current Mississauga and former Mississauga began a home-and-home series in St. Catharines.

The Steelheads, who came in mired in a five-game winless skid, got a natural hat trick from Sam Babintsev (3G, +1) to lead three-nil early in the third. Ming got Niagara off the deck with 11:54 left. Mississauga re-opened the three-goal margin, but 19-year-old IceDogs captain Luke Mercer and Ming scored nine seconds apart to shave the margin to 4-3 with 7:21 left. The IceDogs’ taste for trout was hardly sated, as Ming buried the equalizer with 41 seconds left (his 32 goals this season are more than his total from his first three seasons). That led to Niagara winning the breakaway relay to move up to 54 points with two games ago, ahead of eighth-place Mississauga (52) and outside-looking-in Ottawa (51).

No. 2 star: Kyle Hope, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Hope (2G, +1) and his netminding namesake Brandon Hope (25 saves) led the Attack to a 2-1 win over Plymouth in the other battle for seventh place (excited yet?). With top-ranked goalie prospect Alex Nedeljkovic doing his thing, Plymouth made an early goal stand up for two periods before Kyle Hope scored just prior to the six-minute mark of the third. The overage forward snapped in the winner with 6:31 left.

The Attack are one point behind the sixth-place Saginaw Spirit, who have a game in hand.

No. 3 stars: Connor Brown and Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL)

The Otters won 3-2 at Windsor on the wings of two Brown from McDavid and Dane Fox markers. Erie, which is ahead of London by a nose for a No. 3 playoff seed, was stymied for 35-plus minutes by Spits ‘tender Alex Fotinos. Brown (2G, +2), the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, levelled with 4:28 left in the second and also snapped a 2-2 tie with 8:52 left. The OHL’s scoring leader was named second star in the building behind Fotinos (32 saves), with McDavid (2A, +2) getting third star honours and Fox (2A, +2) being the omission.

Honourable mention: Barclay Goodrow, North Bay Battalion (OHL)

Goodrow (2G, +2), an overage recently signed by the San Jose Sharks, led the Battalion over Oshawa 3-0 in a matchup of division leaders. (Oshawa’s already wrapped up home-ice advantage through at least the first three rounds.) The Battalion captain got the icebreaker with a short-hander with 3:58 left in the first, then scored on a power play early in the second. That was more than enough support for Jake Smith, who handled 20 shots for the shutout.

Potent notables — NHL draft prospects Nikolay Goldobin (2G-1A, +4) and Nick Magyar (2G-1A, +2) each had three-point nights in the Sarnia-Kitchener game … Detroit Red Wings pick Andreas Athanasiou is three goals away from 50 after scoring in Barrie’s 5-3 win at Ottawa. The Colts have two games left.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

Article source: http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/jrhockey-buzzing-the-net/icedogs-eric-ming-last-minute-saviour-big-win-030450546.html

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