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Red Wings prospect news: Mantha, Paterson go to WJC camp on winning note; Griffins, Walleye lose

Amongst Wednesday's Red Wings-related prospect news: Bear with me. The Wings have been up-and-down of late, and the injury bug is running around like a bad gastrointestinal virus, so let's go with some unmitigated joy to start things off.

In the QMJHL: Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha's heading to Toronto to take part in the Canadians' pre-World Junior Championship "selection camp" (he's made the team, as has Saginaw Spirit goalie Jake Paterson), and then he and the Canadian WJC team will head to Malmo, Sweden to play in the World Championships from December 26 to January 5.

Mantha and his closest competitor in the QMJHL scoring race, Jonathan Drouin, will both be attending the camp and will be representing the Canadians at the WJC, and Mantha played his last game of "the year" for the Val-d'Or Foreurs doing what he usually does:

He registered 2 goals and 2 assists in Val-d'Or's 6-3 win over Blainville-Boisbriand, and yes, while the QMJHL is a high-scoring league, and yes, while Martin Frk's status as an ECHL'er and Calle Jarnkrok's early AHL struggles certainly show us that even super-high-potential prospects do not have a straight and direct path to NHL stardom (ask Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, etc.)...

Mantha's played in 32 games for Val-d'Or this season, and he's going to leave for the World Juniors with 35 goals, 38 assists and 73 points, 23 more points than Drouin and 25 more than the #3 scorer in the Q, Emile Poirier.

Via RedWingsFeed, the Canadian Press quantifies Mantha's performance from a team-wide perspective:

League scoring leader Anthony Mantha had two goals and two assists to lead the Val-d'Or Foreurs over the Blainville-Boisbriand Phoenix 6-3 on Wednesay in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play on Wednesday.

The Foreurs have now won eight in a row.

Mantha opened the scoring with his 34th goal of the season just one minute into the contest, and he made it 2-1 with a power-play goal later in the period.

Randy Gazzola, Samuel Henley, Jeremie Fraser and Shawn Ouellette-St-Amant also scored for Val-d'Or (23-11-0), while Louick Marcotte had three assists.

Emil Aronsson, Frederic Bergeron and Marcus Hinds scored for league-leading Blainville-Boisbriand (22-5-5).

In the OHL, Jake Paterson also went out with a bang, as it were. He stopped 35 of 37 shots as his Saginaw Spirit defeated the Plymouth Whalers 6-2;

In the WHL, in his second game back from a badly broken nose, Mitchell Wheaton certainly "made an impact": he registered an assist, finished at +3 and took a 10-minute misconduct in the Kelowna Rockets' 6-3 win over Moose Jaw.



At the professional level, the news wasn't so super in terms of "results." In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a rare home game, losing 4-2 to the Chicago Wolves.

The Grand Rapids Griffins' website provides a relatively neutral recap...

The Chicago Wolves snapped the Grand Rapids Griffins’ seven-game winning streak and eight-game run on home ice with a 4-2 victory on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.

Alexandre Bolduc scored twice as the Wolves rallied from a 2-1 deficit with three unanswered goals over the game’s final 22:40, becoming just the second team this season to beat the Griffins by more than one goal. Chicago was also responsible for Grand Rapids’ most recent loss, a 4-3 decision on Nov. 16 at Allstate Arena.

The Griffins (17-5-1-1), who maintain their eight-point cushion atop the Midwest Division, will conclude their season-high seven-game homestand with a Friday-Saturday set against the Milwaukee Admirals. Game time each night is 7 p.m.

The Wolves (12-10-0-2) struck first at 10:02 of the opening period when Bolduc found a rebound in the slot and chipped a backhand past the glove of Tom McCollum.

Grand Rapids captain Jeff Hoggan evened the score at 11:03 of the second, intercepting a pass in the Chicago zone and quickly connecting on a wrist shot from the edge of the left circle.

The Griffins, who killed off 1:29 of a 5-on-3 Chicago power play earlier in the period, then capitalized on their own two-man advantage to go on top 2-1 at the 16:33 mark, with Riley Sheahan’s one-timer from the right circle beating Jake Allen.

The lead lasted less than a minute. Bolduc picked up the puck between his own circles and wove his way up ice through several defenders until he was on top of McCollum’s crease, and the puck deflected off his left skate and into the net at 17:20. The goal was reviewed and confirmed by the referee.

The visitors inched ahead 3-2 with a power play goal 4:24 into the third. McCollum made a brilliant right toe save on Mark Mancari’s long shot from above the left circle, but the loose puck was knocked home by Dmitrij Jaskin. Chicago notched an insurance goal with 7:44 remaining when Ty Rattie’s wraparound attempt slid through the crease before deflecting off defenseman Alexey Marchenko and across the line.

McCollum turned aside 22 shots in the loss while Allen, selected four picks after McCollum in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, stopped 27 for the win.

Notes: Of the seven longest winning streaks in Griffins history (all seven games or longer), three have come under coach Jeff Blashill, including two this season. No previous coach oversaw more than one of the streaks.

Three Stars: 1. CHI Bolduc (two goals); 2. CHI Jaskin (power play goal, assist); 3. GR Hoggan (unassisted goal)

The Griffins posited a Flickr photo gallery and a slate of highlights and post-game interviews...

And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner (whose recap also includes an embedded photo gallery) reveals that the Griffins were particularly peeved about the way in which the game was literally and figuratively decided:

It was the game-tying goal late in the second period that created a stir. Alexandre Bolduc charged the net, slid into goalie Tom McCollum with defensemen Ryan Sproul and Adam Almquist covering, and the puck squirted between McCollum’s pads. It took a three-minute review to confirm the goal, which came less than a minute after the Griffins had taken the lead.

"I had no idea where the puck was," McCollum said. "The guy fell into me as I was trying to find it, but was sliding backward. For all I know it could have hit his skate. To me, it felt like I got pushed, but that's part of the game. It happens and you move on."

The Wolves (12-10-0-2) tacked on two goals in the third period against McCollum, who was making his second start in eight games. He faced 26 shots.

The Griffins' last loss, ironically, also came against Chicago, but on the road. The Griffins (17-5-1-1) also had an eight-game home winning streak that dated back to Oct. 25 snapped. They remain eight points ahead of Rockford in the Midwest Division.

"With the streak we've had, it's tough to swallow this one, but we always talk about it being a process and we're going to win games and loses some games," said forward Riley Sheahan. "We've been fortunate to be playing hard and win some."


Following the review, [Griffins] coach [Jeff] Blashill was told by referee Darcy Burchell that it was a good goal.

"In the end, they said that even if it was a kick motion, they say he got a stick on it so it didn't matter," he said he was told.

And in the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye had a rough go as well. They dropped a 3-2 decision to the Cincinnati Cyclones, the team that eliminated the Walleye from last year's ECHL playoffs. Marek Tvrdon scored a goal, but Trevor Parkes didn't register a point and finished at -1; Louis-Marc Aubry had an assist; Martin Frk finished at -1; and both Max Nicastro and Richard Nedomlel finished at -2.

The Walleye's website provides a recap...

The Walleye out shot Cincinnati 14-9 in the third period but could not catch the Cyclones in a 3-2 loss Wednesday night at the Huntington Center.  Toledo has an overall record of 5-11-3-0 and is 3-5-0-0 at home this season.

Cincinnati grabbed a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the first as Logan Shaw slid a rebound past goaltender Hannu Toivonen. Toledo would tie the game at 12:35 of the period when David Gilbert scored his first goal of the year on the power play.

“We played hard and well tonight,” said Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “Unfortunatly we were not rewarded for that effort. We just need to continue to practice hard and play that well and it will turn around.”

Marek Tvrdon beat goaltender Michael Houser at 1:56 of the second period for his 6th goal of the year and Toledo led 2-1. The Cyclones would tie the game when Wade Megan beat Toivonen with a wrist shot just 24 seconds later. Cincinnati would take the lead for good at 13:58 as Adam Brace collected his own rebound as lifted it past Toivonen.

Toledo out shot Cincinnati 14-9 in the third period and had numerous chances to tie the game.

Walleye Notes:  Goaltender Hannu Toivonen made 29 saves on 32 shots in net for Toledo. Toivonen has a record of 0-3-0-0 this year.

Walleye Transactions: Prior to the game, Goaltender Jared Coreau was reassigned by the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Coreau was 1-5-3 with a 4.42 GAA and .865 SVP with Toledo. Toledo inked emergency backup goaltender Tony Tabisz. Tabisz has been skating with the Dayton Demonz of the FHL.

The Walleye also posted a slate of highlights....

And the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that the Walleye are frustrated as can be with a six-game losing streak--and then some (the Blade posted a photo gallery as well):

“That's kind of where we are at right now,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “The guys are nervous and rattled. They're gripping their sticks too tight.”

Toledo's record dropped to 5-11-3 and the Walleye remain in the basement of the ECHL North Division. The Walleye have lost 10 of their last 11 games.

Cincinnati (13-8-1) moved into first place in the North.

The shots reflected the evenly played game as both teams finished with 32 shots.

Forward David Gilbert returned to the lineup from injured reserve and scored a goal. Marek Tvrdon gave Toledo the brief lead.

In the third Toledo outshot the Cyclones 14-9. Kyle Rogers missed a wide open net late on the second power play with about 10 minutes left. Travis Parkes and Tvrdon both had great chances near the 14 minute mark of the final period but Cyclone goalie Michael Houser made three stops.

“We had the chances tonight, we just couldn't bury them,” Rogers said. “The positive is that we were in the right spot at the right time. I guess you could say we're snake bit. We keep getting our chances and you have to keep going with that. We're going to snap out of it.”

Tvrdon also hit the post late in the third. Aubry missed an open net and with 30 seconds left Gilbert had another good opportunity in tight but could not convert.

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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.