April 11, 2014
No. 1 star: Luke Philp, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Philp (1G-3A, +2), Jaedon Descheneau (3G, +2) and Sam Reinhart (3A, +1) did the legwork offensively to help Kootenay turn the tables on Medicine Hat for a 7-4 Game 4 win and 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Tigers scored three goals in as many minutes to open a 4-1 edge in the second period. At that point, Ice coach Ryan McGill decided to stanch the bleeding by changing goalies, putting in Wyatt Hoflin to relieve the hard-done-by Mackenzie Skapski. Eighteen seconds after play resumed, a Tigers turnover deep in its own territory came to Philip, who wired in a shot to get the Ice within striking distance.
The two-goal spread lasted until inside of the eight-minute mark of the third. The 18-year-old Philp got the primary assist on a Rinat Valiev tally with 7:44 to go. With 4:15 left, Philp's touch pass into the middle of the offensive zone created a skew of space for Descheneau to bury the tying goal. Descheneau came right back, deking Marek Langhamer with 2:06 left for the winner.
The Ice's first chance to advance is Saturday in Medicine Hat.
The son of four-time Stanley Cup champion Claude Lemieux has never shied away from his father's legacy of coming up large in the playoffs, be it by scoring goals or being grating. Lemieux (3G, -2), who struggled early on in the Barrie-North Bay series, pulled the Colts up by their skatelaces as they ran off six goals in a row to beat the Battalion 7-4 for a 2-2 series tie.
The sophomore scored Barrie's first goal with 5:31 left in the first to cut into an early 3-0 deficit. The spread was three again in the second when the Colts' punchless power play finally connected, as Lemieux scored power-play goals 3:17 apart with Zach Hall (1G-2A, -3) getting apples on each tally. Thus reawakened, the Colts scored thrice in the third to make the series a best-of-3.
No. 3 star: Zack Mitchell, Guelph Storm (OHL)
The Minnesota Wild signing scored third-period special teams goals 3:18 apart to give Guelph separation from the London Knights in the 6-3 win that gave it a 3-1 series lead over the two-time league champions. Mitchell pounced on a loose puck in front for a power-play goal on the Storm's first shot of the third period. On a Knights power play a few minutes later, Mitchell (2G-1A, +2) converted a feed from Detroit Red Wings second-rounder Tyler Bertuzzi to give Guelph a 4-1 lead.
Sophomore Robby Fabbri (1G-2A, +1) also had a big night. Shortly after Mitchell's markers, Fabbri set up Ottawa Senators-drafted defenceman Ben Harpur for a tap-in goal that turned the game into a runaway.
Honourable mention: Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Dal Colle probably is the centrepiece of the Generals offence even when Scott Laughton is playing. With the Philadelphia Flyers first-rounder suspended, Dal Colle (2A, +1) had two primary assists during Oshawa's sweep-completing 5-2 win over Peterborough. Dal Colle's helpers came on goals sandwiched around a Petes tally, as the Generals built a two-goal lead that they never let get away.
As good as Dal Colle was in the regular season he's been better in playoffs. Driven, competitive scorer who drives the net. Been very strong
— Sean Lafortune (@SeanLafortune) April 11, 2014
Potent notables — Columbus Blue Jackets pick Oliver Bjorkstrand (1G-3A, +1) got his ninth goal and 19th point in nine playoff games during Portland's series-clinching 5-1 Game 5 win over Victoria ... Oshawa rookie defenceman Mitchell Vande Sompel scored his first OHL playoff goal ... Peterborough's Clark Seymour scored in his final OHL game.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.