May 11, 2013
No. 1 star: Michael St. Croix, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Who but the Oil Kings' career scoring leader to extend the defending champions' season for another 48 hours? St. Croix (2G-1A, +3) scored twice on broken plays, the second 7:24 into overtime to give Edmonton a 3-2 Game 5 win and deprive the Portland Winterhawks of a chance to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup on home ice.
The Oil Kings, who got 49 saves from star goalie Laurent Brossoit, dug in like the championship team that they are in front of a raucous Rose Garden crowd of 10,947. They were dead even at 1-1 in the third period when Portland goalie Mac Carruth (27 saves on 30 shots) got caught out of his net playing the puck. Overage Dylan Wruck(3A, +3) pounced and centred to St. Croix, who made a backhand move to avoid being blocked by a defenceman and gave the Oil Kings the lead. Brendan Leipsic forced overtime with 5:55 left when his backhand hit an Edmonton stick and deflected over Brossoit.
On they went to a wide-open overtime. Just past the seven-minute mark, St. Croix tried a centring pass to T.J. Foster, but it hit a stick and ricocheted back to him. The Winnipegger reacted quickly, firing a shot past Carruth. The gamesheet credited St. Croix with all three goals. There was some indication the first Oil Kings goal might be changed to Foster.
No. 2 star: Bo Horvat, London Knights (OHL)
Horvat (2G-1A, -1) was named first star as the Knights looked tuned into the moment for the first time in the OHL final, beating the Barrie Colts 6-3 to force a Game 6 on Saturday on the Colts' ice. The 18-year-old delivered the decisive goal in the third period to extinguish the Colts' flickering comeback choices. The Colts got a power play and a chance to pull within a goal. However, Horvat intercepted a pass in his own zone and went zero to 60 for the breakaway before deking goalie Mathias Niederberger to restore a three-goal Knights cushion. The performance transferred the pressure from the Knights to Barrie, who needed three cracks to close out the Belleville Bulls in the Eastern final and also couldn't finish off Ottawa in the 2012 Eastern semi after being up 3-1.
In the second period, when London took control of the contest, Horvat assisted on a goal by a reinvigorated Max Domi (1G-1A, +2) and buried one himself. London also kept Mark Scheifele relatively in check; the Winnipeg Jets pick was 'held' to two assists on the night.
No. 3 stars: Konrad Abeltshauser, Stefan Fournier and Stephen MacAulay, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
The Mooseheads, as many teams do in their final home game, gave the stars to their overages during their President's Cup-clinching 5-1 win over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. It was apropos, considering the impact all three had Friday and their routes they have charted across their time in the Q. Abeltshauser (2A, +2), a towering defenceman, is one of the few holdovers from a 13-win Mooseheads team from three seasons ago ("It was four tough years for me and 19 for this city and this franchise.")
Fournier (1G, +1), who scored his club-record 16th goal of the playoffs during the first period on Friday, became Halifax's captain and leader after struggling to find a good fit with three other teams. Moreover, MacAulay (2G, +2) got the bookend goals to earn his third QMJHL title to go with a pair from the Saint John Sea Dogs. The Cole Harbour, N.S., native, whose mother died shortly before the playoffs began, was a the voice of experience throughout all four rounds.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.