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Red Wings playoff prospect news: Bertuzzi’s Storm win OHL championship; Mantha can’t save Val-d’Or

The Red Wings' pair of Major Junior Hockey-playing prospects experienced vastly different results on Friday night.

In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi didn't register a point, but his Guelph Storm won the Ontario Hockey League's Robertson Cup via a 4-3 win over the North Bay Battalion--rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win the game, no less--winning the series in 5 games.

Bertuzzi (who's registered 10 goals, 7 assists and 17 points in 18 games played) and his teammates will now take part in the Memorial Cup tournament, which takes place in London, Ontario starting on May 15th;

In the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha did his best to help his Val-d'Or Foreurs teammates, registering a game-tying goal and an assist (he now has 23 goals, 11 assists and 34 points in 22 games played), but Val-d'Or lost 6-5 to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, who now lead the QMJHL's President's Cup championship series 3 games to 2. Val-d'Or must win on Sunday to force a Game 7.

In terms of recaps, we'll start with Bertuzzi's Storm. The Canadian Press posted a Battalion-Storm recap...

The Guelph Storm are Ontario Hockey League champions after a pair of late goals Kerby Rychel will remember the rest of his life.

Rychel’s second goal of the game with 26.3 seconds remaining gave the Storm a 4-3 come-from-behind win against the North Bay Battalion in Game 5 on Friday and their first OHL title since 2004.

Before Rychel could play hero late in the game, he was already the Storm’s saviour when he scored his first of the night with just under five minutes remaining in the third period to tie the score, easily depositing a second rebound behind hard luck North Bay goalie Jake Smith.

That set up Rychel’s dramatic goal in the final seconds, as he went hard to the net and snapped a rebound past Smith’s blocker.

“I blacked out. It’s the biggest goal of my life honestly. Words can’t really describe it,” Rychel said. “I still can’t believe it. I kind of feel like I’m in a dream right now.”
It has been a dream series for the Storm, who came back to win Game 1 in overtime, Game 3 in the final 30 seconds with two quick goals and then the capper in Game 5.

“That’s the way it goes. You have to play right to the buzzer,” said Storm head coach Scott Walker, enjoying his fourth year behind the Guelph bench. “I have a great group of guys, they never stopped believing. They love each other, they play hard for each other, so it was great.”

As well as a PAIR of highlight clips which are bafflingly geo-blocked...

The Storm's website's Brian Zwmbag posted a recap...

The Guelph Storm are headed to the Memorial Cup.

Kerby Rychel scored a pair of late goals to lift the Guelph Storm to a 4-3 win over the North Bay Battalion in Game Five of their OHL Championship series.

Rychel’s heroics brought the J. Ross Robertson trophy to Guelph for the first time in ten years.

Trailing 3-2 after two periods, the Storm kept plugging away and after anxious moments and relentless pressure, Rychel found a way to beat North Bay goaltender Jake Smith.

With 4:29 remaining, Rychel potted a rebound after Zack Mitchell and Robby Fabbri attempts were stopped. Mitchell took the original shot and Fabbri crashed the net for the rebound but it was Rychel joining the play late that finally beat Smith with a wide-open cage.

Then with 27 seconds to go, the big winger picked up a drop pass from Robby Fabbri in the slot and beat Smith stick side with a quick wrist shot. Scott Kosmachuk also assisted on the series clinching goal.

It was captain Matt Finn that provided the spark for the Storm late in the second period.

North Bay was leading 3-1 but the Fabbri-Rychel-Mitchell trio was buzzing but couldn’t find twine. The with one minute left in the middle frame, Fabbri hit Finn in the slot with a beautiful pass and the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect had time to load up a hard wrist shot.

Brock McGinn scored the other Guelph goal at 17:08 of the first period. The Fergus native stepped over the Battalion blueline and sent a hard slap shot over the blocking arm of Smith to draw Guelph even.

Nick Paul opened the scoring 50 seconds earlier on a powerplay goal and Brett McKenzie restored that lead before the close of the first period with a deflection in front.

Barclay Goodrow took advantage of a Storm turnover to score a shorthanded marker for the Battalion at 6:35 of the second period.

Justin Nichols was solid in stopping 23 shots and Jake Smith put Game Four behind him to stop 34 shots and give North Bay the opportunity to win.

Guelph will now have one week off before facing off against the Western Hockey League Champion at the Memorial Cup in London.

Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager posted a recap, too...

Guelph managed to make it a short series despite never really managing to max out its effort in front of its own fans at the Sleeman Centre. Yet the veteran club bottled up the Battalion and kept in striking distance, thanks in no small part to 18-year-old goalie Justin Nichols (2.63 average, .919 save pct. in playoffs). Wrapping up the series early should also mean that Guelph will be the most rested of the three league champs who arrive in London next week.

"It's a big relief," fourth-year coach Scott Walker, a former NHL forward, said. "These guys deserve it. They worked hard for each other. We didn't have anybody win major awards. Everybody doubted our goaltending, our size, our style, all those things. But they stuck with it. I've never seen a more mature group. We didn't lose two in a row very often.

"It's all about the players. We were hard on them after we lost earlier in the series. We thought we owed it to them ... they wouldn't like us 10 years from now if we didn't push them and were just happy to be here. We took the risk of them not liking us and told them they owed it to themselves."

As did the Guelph Mercury's Tony Saxon...

"Jubilation. Relief. Surreal," said Guelph Storm captain Matt Finn in describing the 4-3 win over the North Bay Battalion.

"It's been a lot of first-round exits and a lot of long summers. To be able to come in now and win this is something none of us will ever forget."

Players poured over the boards, flung aside their sticks, helmets and gloves and piled together against the board after they clinched the best-of-seven series in five games.

"A couple of lucky goals and the rest is history. We found a way to win and it's sick," said Rychel, the player the Storm acquired mid-season to be the difference maker he certainly ended up being.

"They had us on the ropes there, but good teams find a way to win and we did that," Rychel said.

And the Storm's Twitter account is...quite happy to add to the mix (and you'll spot Bertuzzi, #17, in the last photo):

For Mantha's Foreurs, RDS posted a 1:20 highlight clip that you can actually watch outside of Canada (it includes both Mantha's goal and his assist), and I found a French-language recap on RDS as well (enjoy Google-tranlsated French; Val-d'Or Foreurs = The Valley of Gold [city name] Drillers [team name]):

Valentin Zykov had a productive evening of five points, while teammate Jeremy Gregory scored twice and an assist, and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar held up at the very end of the third period to emerge victorious from an offensive duel 6-5 against the Drillers Val-d'Or, and so take a 3-2 lead in the final round of the QMJHL.

From the first twenty, both teams stormed the opposing net . Zykov took only 60 seconds to open the scoring , but Shawn Ouellette- St -Amant caused equal to 8:56 . Gregory was beautiful thread the needle a few minutes later, the Abitibians [Val-d'Or] returned to the load to 2-2 just 29 seconds later.

Charles Poulin has however chosen a good time to score his first goal of the series to give representatives of the North Shore the lead after 20 minutes of play

The game of cat and mouse continued in the second period. Anthony Mantha has allowed drillers to create the new 3-3 with a net that has required which video replays, but Gregory completed a superb staging Gabryel Paquin -Boudreau and Felix Girard to replace Baie- Comeau before .

Maxime St- Cyr was then allowed Drakkar acquire his first two-goal cushion in the game by touching the target at 5:13 of the third. Not abdicating, the Drillers were 5-4 on a slap shot by Guillaume Gélinas, but Zykov replied 24 seconds after the goal to restore the two-goal lead .

Randy Gazzola took advantage of a power play to give hope to the people of Mario Durocher . Philippe Cadorette but closed the door late in the game. He made ​​26 saves on 31 shots, while his vis- à-vis Antoine Bibeau stopped 42 of 48 shots he faced.

And L'Echo Abitibien's Alex Drouin penned a recap which translates as follows:

"Special teams were the difference," said bluntly head coach Mario Durocher who saw his men hit the target only once in five attempts.

Only Randy Gazzola was able to thwart Philippe Cadorette powerplay late in the game to the last thread of the evening. Drakkar, he scored two goals on three occasions.

"They were opportunistic," said Durocher.

Since the beginning of this series, the Val-d'Or shook the rope three times in 20 powerplay.

At the end of the initial period and with a score from March to February in favor of the home team, the visitors were unable to take advantage of digital two-man advantage for almost 1:30.

"We had our chances, but the puck would not go in the net. However, it gave us momentum, "said Louick Marcotte had three assists in this game.

"The players have had a very good start with several good chances. They have produced and, despite a few turnovers, I liked the defensive work, particularly at the 5 against 3," said head coach of the winning team, Éric Veilleux.

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Comments

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Hey George, Love your work, keep it up. A suggestion for your “location” issues. I live overseas and so I vpn into the US, Canada, Europe and a few other countries with https://www.tunnelbear.com/  They have a free version which may suit your needs

Posted by Canucks6 on 05/10/14 at 02:15 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Thank you!

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/10/14 at 02:23 AM ET

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Go Baie-Comeau, finish them so that Anthony Mantha can join the Griffs ASAP.

Posted by Garth on 05/10/14 at 09:56 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Cool to see North Bay with a team again. Vacationed up there once but had to listen to fighting Quebec couple scream at each other nightly in cabin for a three days straight, ah love.
Spits my OHL team and still in shock papa Rychel traded his boy to Guelph, lol.
Father knows best.
Hope Mantha gets serious chance to stick with the Red Wings next fall. Drouin didn’t in Tampa to my surprise but this Red Wings team has a lot less veteran depth to keep him away come fall imo like they did in Tampa for Drouin.
Rooting for Guelph all the way. God I hate the Knights.

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 05/11/14 at 03:10 AM ET

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About The Malik Report

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.