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Tavares breaks OHL goal-scoring record with hat trick

The Canadian Press

3/8/2009 9:18:14 PM

It's official: John Tavares is the most prolific goal-scorer in Ontario Hockey League history.

Tavares scored three goals, including the winner that earned the London Knights a 4-3 decision over the Windsor Spitfires on Sunday.

"I'm just happy we were able to come out of here with two points today," said a humble Tavares, whose 215 career goals give him two more than the previous record holder Peter Lee.

Lee scored 213 times in five seasons with the Ottawa 67's from 1971-76.

Since moving into second place on the all-time list with a two-goal performance in Kitchener, Ont., on Feb. 15, Tavares has been on a tear, scoring 15 goals in the past 10 games.

Tavares leads the OHL in scoring with 104 points (56 goals, 48 assists) despite missing a handful of games to suit up for Canada at the world junior tournament in Ottawa. Tavares shined against the top junior players in the world, earning honours as the event's top forward, a first-team all-star and MVP after recording 15 points (8-7) in six games.

On Sunday, Tavares opened the scoring four minutes 51 seconds into the first, tying Lee's record.

"When I scored so early in the game, I figured there would be more opportunities to help my team out," Tavares said. "But the boys really came in here focused today, we wanted to win this game before heading into the playoffs and moving forward."

The Oakville, Ont., native broke the record with seven minutes left in the game and received a prolonged standing ovation from the sold-out Windsor crowd.

"I really appreciated the reaction of the fans," he said. "They have great fans here and it was a classy thing to do."

With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Tavares completed the hat trick to snap a 3-3 tie and not only provide a dramatic ending but ultimately give London the win.

Elsewhere in the OHL, it was: Brampton 5, Mississauga 2; Peterborough 3, Oshawa 2 (SO); Guelph 5, Owen Sound 4; Kingston 4, Barrie 3 (SO); Ottawa 6, Sudbury 2; and Sarnia 4, Sault Ste. Marie 1.

At Windsor, Ont., Tavares, expected to go first overall in this summer's NHL entry draft, also assisted on Justin Taylor's power-play goal for the Knights (47-16-1-2), who have won seven straight and beat the league-leading Spitfires for the first time in six meetings this season.

Ryan Ellis, Eric Wellwood and Adam Henrique replied for Windsor (56-8-0-1).

Trevor Cann made 38 saves for London, while Spitfires netminder Josh Unice stopped 33 shots.

Battalion 5, Majors 2

At Brampton, Ont., Evgeny Grachev had a goal and two assists to break Jason Spezza's rookie points record as the Battalion defeated Mississauga.

Grachev now has 39 goals and 72 points this season, one more than Spezza, now with the NHL's Ottawa Senators, recorded with the club during the '98-'99 season (22 goals, 49 assists).

Cody Hodgson had two goals and an assist to become the first Brampton player to record consecutive 40-goal seasons. Matt Kang and Anthony Peluso also scored for the Battalion (44-19-1-1).

Devante Smith-Pelley and Kaspars Daugavins replied for the Majors (37-26-1-2).

Petes 3, Generals 2 (SO)

At Oshawa, Ont., Sergey Korostin scored the shootout winner as Peterborough moved into a playoff position with an important win over the Generals.

Tony Romano, short-handed, and Justin Larson, on a power play, scored in regulation for the Petes (27-35-1-2).

Brett Parnham and Tyler Taylor replied for the Oshawa (25-33-2-5).

Storm 5, Attack 4

At Guelph, Ont., Peter Holland scored twice in the third period to help the Storm edge Owen Sound.

Michael Latta, with a goal and an assist, Matt Kennedy and Yves Bastien also scored for Guelph (33-25-4-3).

Marc Franchini, Joey Hishon, Mike Halmo and Josh Moes found the net for the Attack (25-26-7-7), who have lost three straight.

Frontenacs 4, Colts 3 (SO)

At Kingston, Ont., Andris Dzerins scored the lone goal in the shootout as the Frontenacs came back to oust Barrie.

Ethan Werek scored twice in regulation, including the tying goal with one second remaining in the third, while Nathan Moon added a goal and an assist for Kingston (17-38-6-3).

Taylor Carnevale, Adam Payerl and Alex Hutchings scored for the Colts (29-31-3-2), who are on a three-game losing skid.

67's 6, Wolves 2

At Ottawa, Logan Couture had two goals and an assist as the 67's defeated Sudbury.

Anthony Nigro added a goal and an assist and Thomas Kiriakou, on the power play, Thomas Nesbitt and Tyler Toffoli also scored for Ottawa (37-21-5-2), which is on a three-game winning streak.

John Kurtz and Jared Staal each had a goal and an assist for the Wolves (25-34-2-4).

Sting 4, Greyhounds 1

At Sarnia, Ont., Matt Martin scored the eventual game winner as the Sting bombarded Sault Ste. Marie with 53 shots.

Brett Appio, Justin DiBenedetto and Steve Reese also scored for Sarnia (33-25-4-3).

Kyle DeCoste had the lone goal for the Greyhounds (19-43-2-2).