No. 1 star: Max Domi, London Knights (OHL)
Domi was the hero for the Knights as they advanced to the OHL final by the skin of their teeth against the Plymouth Whalers on Friday.
The 2013 NHL Draft-eligible forward had a hand in each of London’s five goals, including the winner, in their 5-4 overtime win, harpooning the Whalers.
It was Domi from Tierney just 20 seconds into the extra frame that did Plymouth in.
London’s line of Domi with wingers Alex Broadhurst and Chris Tierney combined for 11 points on the night. Domi potted his ninth and 10th goals of the playoffs in the victory.
London blew a 4-0 lead and let the Whalers come all the way back to tie the score late in the third period. Ryan Hartman, Avalanche prospect Garrett Meurs and Blue Jackets product Gianluca Curcuruto each had a goal and an assist for the Whalers in the last game of their season.
Anthony Stolarz earned the win in net, turning aside 37 shots, including 24 in the second period. Whalers goalkeeper Alex Nedeljkovic took the loss.
London took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on the strength of goals from Domi and Broadhurst. Bo Horvat and Broadhurst both capitalized on the powerplay early in the second period to put the Knights up 4-0.
Hartman scored late in the second, and Meurs, Rickard Rakell and Curcuruto scored in the third to even the score before Domi’s heroics early in the fourth frame.
No. 2 star: Alan Quine, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
While the Whalers were eliminated Friday, the Bulls were able to live another day with a 3-1 victory, thanks to the two-goal efforts of Red Wing product Quine.
Quine snapped a 1-1 tie at 18:42 of the second period to collect the winner, with help from Ducks prospect Joseph Cramarossa and Michael Curtis, and then added another in the third period on the man-advantage from Jake Worrad and Jordan Subban.
The Colts got on the board first thanks to Boston prospect Anthony Camara’s sixth goal of the postseason early in the second period, before Bellville answered back with two goals late in the stanza to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
Barrie and Bellville will renew hostilities in game 6 Saturday night at the Barrie Molson Centre.
No. 3 star: Simon Lemieux, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Lemieux came under intense pressure to fill in for Philippe Cadorette and helped lead the Drakkar to a 2-1 overtime victory in game 5 over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. He made 29 saves in the victory. Lemieux hadn’t played in over a month and was forced to start for Baie-Comeau, thanks to suspensions keeping out their starting and backup netminders.
The Drakkar sank the Armada on a controversial goal from Valentin Zykov early on in the extra frame. The Drakkar appeared off-side on the play. Zykov added an assist on Petr Straka’s game-tying goal in the final minute of the second period.
Twelve players, including both regular goalies for both teams, and both coaches were suspended for the game, which was a quiet one on the game sheet, just three goals and four penalties in total. Nikita Jevpalovs replied for the Armada, who outshot the Drakkar 30-28.
Honorable mention: Sébastien Dubé-Rochon/Félix Landry/Jean-Michel Busque/Robbie Graham, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL); Samuel Tremblay/Guillaume Beaudoin/Marc-Antoine Turcotte, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
These seven players, along with the Drakkar’s Lemieux, were all called up to play in game 5 to replace all the suspended players thanks to the gotta-see-that-again-on-YouTube bench-clearing brawl at the end of game 4. None of the players factored into the game in a big way, but with so many new faces in the lineup at such a critical time it’s hard to be picky.
Special mention goes to Turcotte, who came in after the Armada’s third string netminder, Storm Phaneuf, went down with an injury in the second period. Turcotte, 16, stopped six of seven shots in just over 20 minutes of action, surrendering the overtime winner to Valentin Zykov. It was Turcotte’s first foray into QMJHL action.
Honorable mention: Laurent Brossoit, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Brossoit led the Oil Kings to a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen Friday night, having a shutout taken away with just under five minutes left in the third period. The Flames prospect, named third star of the game, surrendered a powerplay goal to Brooks Macek at 15:04 of the third period for the only blemish on an otherwise solid night.
Brossoit stopped 28-of-29 shots en route to the win, putting the Oil Kings in a 3-2 stranglehold on the series heading back to the Scotiabank Saddledome for game 6. Stephane Legault and Dylan Wruck, the game’s first star, each had two helpers for Edmonton. Coyote Henrik Samuelsson scored the winner for the Oil Kings.