No. 1 star: Nick Merkley, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
The 17-year-old Merkley (1G-3A, +2) was dealing, as Kelowna pulled away for a 6-1 win over Brandon during the big Western League interconference showdown. The Wheat Kings had pressure early, but the Western League’s second-leading scorer helped Kelowna assert itself by displaying some patient playmaking while getting two primary assists in the first period.
That 2-1 lead stood up until the 59-second mark of the second period, when Merkley used his speed to cut in off the wing on a short-handed rush and reached back to tuck the pack past Brandon goalieJordan Papirny. The four points give the sophomore 24 points in 13 games, including 20 helpers.