The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/06/14 at 09:01 PM ET
Updated 5x at 12:51 AM: You can watch Mike Babcock speak with the French media regarding Anthony Mantha, for 3-and-a-half minutes, here.
When more's available, I'll post the highlights and news I can find, but for the present moment:
In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi scored the first of three Guelph Storm goals which rallied the team from three one-goal deficits en route to a 4-3 OT win over the North Bay Battalion, giving Guelph a 2 games-to-1 lead in the OHL's Robertson Cup final (Bertuzzi now has 9 goals, 6 assists and 15 points in 16 playoff games played);
And in the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha had an assist on the game-tying goal, scored the game-winning goal and then an insurance goal as the Val-d'Or Foreurs rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 5-2, giving Val-d'Or a 2-games-to-1 lead in the QMJHL's President's Cup final (Mantha, named the game's first star, has 20 goals, 10 assists and 30 points in 20 playoff games played).
The teams will battle each other in the 4th games of their respective series on Wednesday.
The wall that is Jake Smith came tumbling down faster than you could say "overtime coming up" as the Guelph Storm snatched Game 3 and muted 4,249 North Bay Battalion fanatics. Now the underdogs have to recover almost as quickly.
With seventy-five seconds, it momentarily appeared North Bay had sealed the win when Nick Paul hit the empty Storm net, but the play was offside. Sixteen seconds later, Nick Ebert threw a big bodycheck to keep the puck in the Battalion zone and whipped a point shot that Zack Mitchell tipped in to tie the game for the third time. Then the Jason Dickinson-Brock McGinn-Scott Kosmachuk line that had been stymied in the first two games pounced, with McGinn roofing a rebound with 10.5 seconds left for a 4-3 win and 2-1 series lead in the OHL final.
"I don't think I have seen a game shift like that," Ebert said. "It was pretty wild. It shows the character of our team, the never-die attitude and it paid off tonight. I almost jumped right off the bench."
The Storm's 1-2 punch epitomized how it found a gear that had been absent during the first two games at the Sleeman Centre. Regardless of the result, it would have been Guelph's best effort of the series, as it outshot North Bay 44-26.
"After we scored, we were pushing for the other goal because sometimes there's an emotional drain on the team that had the lead," coach Scott Walker said.
The Battalion had pulled out all the stops to get the lead, with Smith standing on his head and Dylan Blujus' point shots leading directly to their 2-1 and 3-2 goals. It also gave up a third-period tying goal in Game 1 and regrouped, but couldn't do so this time.
"We've got a real group of character players," coach Stan Butler said. "The way you lose games is sometimes harder than others but a loss is a loss. We don't have a lot of time to dwell on it. We basically kind of got to have 'Altheimer's' and not have a very good memory. Go from there."
The Guelph Storm's website also posted a recap.
Anthony Mantha had two goals and an assist and Antoine Bibeau stopped 30 shots as the Val-d'Or Foreurs toppled the visiting Baie-Comeau Drakkar 5-2 on Tuesday in Game 3 of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final.
Anthony Richard had a goal and an assist for the Foreurs, who lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. Maxime Gravel and Pierre-Maxime Poudrier tacked on a goal apiece.
Felix Girard and Maxime St-Cyr supplied the scoring for the Drakkar, who led 2-1 midway through the second period before giving up four unanswered goals.
Baie-Comeau's Philippe Cadorette turned away 24-of-28 shots in a losing cause.
Val-d'Or went 2 for 3 on the power play while the Drakkar failed to score on five chances with the man advantage.
The Foreurs host Game 4 on Wednesday.
Update #2: Hockey's Future named Anthony Mantha one of its "honorable mentions" for prospect of the year, which went to Teuvo Teravainen:
Anthony Mantha, W, Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
Heading into the 2013-14 season, there was no questioning Anthony Mantha's potential. Standing at 6'5 and around 200 pounds, Mantha possesses a rare blend of size, skill, and speed. He was also the only player in the QMJHL to manage 50 goals during 2012-13 regular season. Still, many pundits felt he was capable of more, that with his size and strength, he should be dominating other junior age players.
Mantha did just that and more over the 2013-14 season, as he led the QMJHL with 57 goals and 120 points, and was recognized as the league MVP. He was remarkably consistent as well, held pointless on only six occasions and never more than two games in a row. He was selected to the QMJHL's First All-Star Team and recognized as the QMJHL First star of the Month in September and October. Mantha has been strong during the Foreurs' post-season run as well, and currently has 18 goals and nine assists through 20 games.
The 19-year-old was also a standout for the Canadian WJC team, where he managed five goals and six assists through seven games.
Mantha has little left to prove at the junior level. He is expected to join the Detroit Red Wings AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, for the 2014-15 season.
Update #3: Yahoo Sports' Cam Charron named Mantha his second star of the night:
No. 2 Star - Anthony Mantha, Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
The Foreurs broke their tie as the series shifted West for Game 3 of the QMJHL series. Despite the 5-2 scoreline, as Val-d'Or take a 2-1 series lead, the game was in doubt through to the third period. Baie-Comeau took a 2-1 lead late in the second period, but Maxime Gravel tied the game just 1:11 later, with Anthony Mantha drawing the assist.As he's done all year, the Detroit prospect Mantha paced the Foreurs offence by scoring twice in the third period (with Anthony Richard scoring the empty net goal to boot). It was a good time for Mantha to record his first goal of the series (he'd been held to just two assists in the first two games) and he now has 20 on the Foreurs playoff run. Val-d'Or are now two games away from returning to their first MasterCard Memorial Cup since 2001.
Update #4.5: From the Abitibi Express's Valerie Maltais, translated:
A spectator was very attentive to the prowess of the number 8 in the evening. Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings was on hand to see the evolution of the first-round pick (20th) for his club in 2013.
"I tried not to put pressure on me with that, but it was extra motivation because I wanted to show him what I could as well play defensively ," said Mantha .
Update #5: Regarding the Babcock-on-Mantha video:
1. Babcock describing Major Junior as "Kids' hockey" minus pro pace;
2. Babcock also saying he keeps in contact with scouts: "We haven't had many kids ever step into our lineup, I don't know that he can, he probably ends up in Grand Rapids like most kids do, but good for him even if he's in the equation."
3. "You know, we've never had anybody with that kind of size that scores like that, does that make his track quicker? I don't know the answer to that question. It's just a matter of time, so we'll see what happens."
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.