Thomas McCollum is making Brampton general manager Stan Butler look like a genius - and he has the Battalion looking like championship contenders, as well.
McCollum stopped 30 shots for his sixth shutout of the season as the streaking Battalion blanked the Oshawa Generals 3-0 in Ontario Hockey League action Thursday night.
McCollum, the reigning OHL player of the week, has been virtually unbeatable since being acquired by Brampton in a blockbuster deadline deal with the Guelph Storm. After losing 5-3 to the Barrie Colts in his Battalion debut Jan. 10, the native of Amherst, N.Y., has won seven straight games, posting a 0.98 goals-against average, a .961 save percentage and three shutouts over that span.
McCollum, Detroit's first-round choice (30th overall) in the 2008 draft, has recorded all six of his shutouts this season in his past 14 games.
Thursday's result was in doubt through 40 scoreless minutes before the Battalion (32-14-1-1) erupted for three third-period goals en route to their eighth win in a row. Anthony Peluso broke the deadlock with an unassisted goal at 2:20, and Scott Tanski added an insurance goal 1:47 later.
World junior gold medallist Cody Hodgson iced things with an empty netter in the final minute, extending his points streak to 18 games (14 goals, 16 assists). Hodgson has been held without a point just three times in 33 games this season.
In other OHL action Thursday, it was: Belleville 6 Peterborough 3; Windsor 5 Mississauga-St. Michael's 3; Owen Sound 3 Barrie 1; and Erie 5 Niagara 3.
At Oshawa, Ont., the Battalion outshot the Generals 26-6 in the final period to extend their lead in the Central Division to a whopping 13 points over the Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors. Brampton's 66 points are second only to the Belleville Bulls (70) in the Eastern Conference.
Michael Zador stopped 46 shots in defeat for the Generals (21-22-1-4), who have dropped four straight and are 3-6-0-0 since trading superstar forward John Tavares to the London Knights. Oshawa has been blanked in consecutive games for the first time this season.
Bulls 6 Petes 3
At Peterborough, Ont., Luke Pither and P.K. Subban each had two goals and two assists and Belleville scored four times in the third period to beat the Petes.
Shawn Lalonde and Brandon Mashinter had singles while Eric Tangradi added four assists as Belleville (33-13-2-2) won its seventh consecutive game.
Justin Larson, Brett Theberge and Jamie Doornbosch replied for Peterborough (20-28-0-2).
Spitfires 5 Majors 3
At Windsor, Ont., Scott Timmins scored twice in the Spitfires' 14th victory in a row.
Lane MacDermid, Harry Young and Andrei Loktionov had singles for Windsor (43-5-0-1).
David Corrente, Jesse Messier and Jordan Meyer countered for the Majors (25-20-1-2).
Attack 3 Colts 1
At Barrie, Ont., Scott Stajcer stopped 46 shots in Owen Sound's win over the Colts.
Andrew Wilkins scored twice and Joshua Ocampo added a single for the Attack (19-19-6-5).
Darren Archibald's second-period goal provided the lone offence for Barrie (21-25-3-1).
Otters 5 IceDogs 3
At St. Catharines, Ont., Jaroslav Janus made 44 saves as Erie downed the IceDogs.
Mitch Gaulton, Ryan O'Reilly, Shawn Szydlowski, Brandon Biggers and Zack Torquato had goals for the Otters (24-23-2-0).
Alex Friesen, Marco Insam and Chris DeSousa answered for Niagara (20-20-4-5).