With superstar John Tavares out with an injury, Justin Taylor stepped up in a big way for the London Knights.
Taylor scored three goals as the Knights beat the Kitchener Rangers 5-2 in Ontario Hockey League action Thursday before 9,038 spectators.
Taylor had a chance for another four or five. He missed two breakaways in the third period before scoring into an empty net with goalie Parker Van Buskirk pulled for a sixth attacker.
"(The hat trick) was a long time coming," Taylor told the London Free Press. "We had a lot of chances. Obviously it was good karma . . . I had a gapping cage. I was just thinking `Don't miss."'
The puck followed Taylor whenever he was on the ice. In the second period, Van Buskirk made a glove save on Taylor and took out his mouthgard.
"He said `You aren't getting the third one when I'm in net,' " Taylor said of their exchange.
"Every chance I got he kept saying, `Almost, almost."'
Phil Varone and Jason Wilson also scored for London (33-8-0-1), which got 17 saves from Trevor Cann.
Jason Akeson and Micky Sartoretto replied for Kitchener (18-22-1-1), while Van Buskirk made 46 saves.
Elsewhere in the OHL it was: Windsor 5 Owen Sound 4 (OT); Brampton 6 Sault Ste. Marie 1; Saginaw 5 Peterborough 2; Sudbury 7 Barrie 3; and Niagara 2 Mississauga 1.
At London, Ont., was a dominant offensive performance by the Knights. They outshot the Rangers 52-19 and created chance after chance.
It was the kind of performance that will boost London's confidence, considering the scary events of Wednesday night that could well have unsettled the team.
Tavares injured a shoulder in the third period of the CHL/NHL top prospects game in Oshawa.
Tavares was carrying the puck behind the net when he was caught with a big hit by Peterborough's Zack Kassian.
Tavares has suffered a suspected bone bruise. While he didn't play Thursday night, there is a chance he'll play Friday against the Guelph Storm. That will be a game time decision.
Spitfires 5 Attack 4 (OT)
At Windsor, Ont., Ryan Ellis scored the overtime winner and Eric Wellwood scored twice in regulation as the Spitfires beat Owen Sound.
Scott Timmins and Taylor Hall also scored for Windsor (37-5-0-1).
Andrew Wilkins, David Kolomatis, Michael Halmo and Marcus Carroll replied for Owen Sound (16-16-6-4).
Battalion 6 Greyhounds 1
At Brampton, Ont., Cody Hodgson had a hat trick as the Battalion routed Sault Ste. Marie.
Matt Duchene, Sam Carrick and Evgeny Grachev also scored for the Central Division-leading Battalion (26-14-1-1.
Jamie Haines had the lone marker for the Greyhounds (16-25-2-1).
Spirit 5 Petes 2
At Peterborough, Ont., Edward Pasquale made 35 saves as Saginaw beat the Petes.
Tyler Murovich, Chris Chappell and Jack Combs had a goal and assist each for Saginaw (24-15-0-3) while T.J. Brodie added two assists.
Jordan Szwarz and Jordan Skellett also scored for Saginaw.
Ryan Spooner and Joey West replied for the Petes (18-25-0-2).
Wolves 7 Colts 3
At Barrie, Ont., Matt Dias scored a pair of goals and Andrew Loverock made 55 saves as Sudbury beat the Colts.
John Kurtz had a goal and an assist while Eric O'Dell, Kain Allicock, Akim Aliu and Marcus Foligno also scored for Sudbury (19-20-1-3).
Andrew Clouthier, Ryan O'Connor and Ryan Gottschalk replied for Barrie (19-20-3-1).
IceDogs 2 Majors 1
At St. Catharines, Ont., Jeremy Smith made 29 saves and Patrick Lee scored the game winner as Niagara edged Mississauga.
Marco Insam also scored for Niagara (17-19-4-4).
Michael Pelech replied for Mississauga (22-18-1-1).