Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Val-d'Or's Anthony Mantha, a Detroit first round pick, has two straight 50 goal seasons in the QMJHL. (CP / Ghyslain Bergeron)

No. 1 star: Anthony Mantha, Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)

Mantha put the Foreurs on his back and led them to a victory over division rival the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada with three goals in a 4-3 win.

Mantha scored twice in the last two minutes of the first stanza for Val-d’Or to give them a 3-2 lead after one period, and then snapped a 3-3 tie in the third with the winning goal at 12:57.

Three goals gives Mantha 56 on the season, a six-goal cushion over Anthony Duclair and Jean-François Plante.

The win puts Val-d’Or just one point behind Blainville-Boisbriand, 87-to-86. Both teams have four games to play until the end of the season next Saturday.

Randy Gazzola and captain Samuel Henley each had a pair of assists in the win, which improved the Foreurs to a 42-20-1-1 record. Antoine Bibeau earned the win in goal. They have won eight of their last ten games.

The Armada got 30 saves out of netminder Etienne Marcoux and dropped to 39-16-4-5.

No. 2 star: Charlie Graham, Belleville Bulls (OHL)

Graham put on a goaltending clinic for the Bulls as they squeaked by the Sudbury Wolves 2-1 in a shootout.

Graham made 49 saves on 50 shots and steered aside all three shooters the Wolves threw at him to get the win and first star honours. Belleville, who was short two bodies, nearly escaped the game with a 1-0 win, but Sudbury’s Trevor Carrick notched the game’s tying goal with two seconds left on the clock to send it to overtime.

Aaron Barisha had Belleville’s goal in the third period, while Stephen Harper scored the only goal in penalty kicks. Graham stopped Connor Crisp to secure the win for the road team.

The win puts Belleville only two points out of the basement of the OHL’s Eastern Conference with a little more than a week left to play. They improved to 21-38-3-3 on the year.

Sudbury outshot Belleville 50-35 in the game. They dropped to 32-21-3-8.

No. 3 star: Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

Draisaitl had two goals and added two assists for a four-point night in Prince Albert’s 5-2 win over the Calgary Hitmen.

He had two helpers, both primary, in the Raiders’ two goals in the first frame, and then notched the winner on the man advantage to snap a 2-2 tie in the second period.

He added an empty netter to ice the score late in the third, to improve Prince Albert’s record to 32-30-3-2.

Captain Josh Morrissey had a goal and an assist for the Raiders, while Sawyer Lange had a pair of helpers. Nick McBride got the win in net.

Jake Virtanen scored both goals for the Hitmen, who fell to 44-17-3-4.

Honourable mention: Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL)

McDavid had his second straight four-point night, this time scoring twice, as Erie soundly beat the Windsor Spitfires 6-1.

McDavid got the Otters on the board to tie the score in the first, then assisted on Dane Fox’s winner. He added an assist in the second and another goal in the third for four.

Dylan Strome had a pair of goals for the Otters, who improved to 48-14-2-0 on the year. Connor Brown chipped in with three assists. Windsor fell to 36-25-3-0.

Honourable mention: Ben Walker, Victoria Royals (WHL)

Walker had four assists, all of them primary, on the Royals’ first four goals in their 5-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers.

Walker helped four different Royals scorers on the scoresheet, three of them coming in the first period.

Both Brandon Magee and Travis Brown benefitted with points off of Walker feeds, and each had a goal and an assist. Victoria improved to 46-17-1-3 on the year, while Kamloops stumbled to 13-50-2-3.

Notables: Matt Rupert had two goals and three assists while three other Knights, including twin brother Ryan, had a pair of goals as London doubled up Kitchener big, 10-5. The Rupert brothers combined for nine points, while Gemel Smith had two goals and two helpers. … Jean-François Plante scored twice, including his 50th goal of the season, and added a pair of assists, while Carl-Antoine Delisle, Cameron Yarwood and Carl Marois each chipped in with a pair of goals as Victoriaville blasted Chicoutimi 9-4. … Brandon Leipsic scored twice and added two assists in Portland’s 7-3 pounding of Seattle. Mathew Dumba chipped in with two goals and an assist, while Oliver Bjorkstrand scored and added a pair of apples. … Nick Sorensen and Fabrice Herzog each had five point nights in Quebec’s 7-2 dismantling of Shawinigan. Mikhail Grigorenko had a goal and three assists. … Dallas Valentine tripled his goal output this year in one outing with two goals, including the winner, in Moose Jaw’s 6-1 drubbing of Saskatoon. Bryson Gore had a goal and two helpers. … Michael Joly potted two goals and added a helper in Rimouski’s 7-1 statement over QMJHL-leading Baie-Comeau. Sébastien Sylvestre and Anthony DeLuca each had a goal and two assists. It was Rimouski’s 13th straight victory. … #FreeJaedon Descheneau notched two goals and added a helper to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-2 win over Medicine Hat. Sam Reinhart had two assists, while Zach Franko had a goal and an apple. … Christophe Lalonde had two goals and an assist and Vladimir Tkachev had three helpers in Moncton’s 5-2 win over Acadie-Bathurst. … Reid Gow ran the show from the back end with three helpers in Spokane’s 4-2 come-from-behind win over Prince George. Mike Aviani scored twice, while WHL-leading scorer Mitch Holmberg had a pair of assists. … Kyle Farrell and Charles-Eric Légaré each scored twice and Jérémy Beaudry had a goal and two assists as Cape Breton defeated Charlottetown 5-2. Daniel Sprong had both Islander goals. … Brandon Halverson had a 35-save shutout and Sergey Tolchinsky had two goals and an assist as Sault Ste. Marie demolished Sarnia 7-0. … Curtis Lazar and Mads Eller each scored twice as Edmonton doubled up Brandon 6-3. … Corey Pawley and Roland McKeown each scored twice, with Pawley adding an assist, as Kingston rolled over Oshawa 6-2. Evan McEneny had a goal and two assists. … Patrik Bartosak stopped 33-of-34 shots while Wyatt Johnson and Aspen Sterzer each had a pair of points in Red Deer’s 4-1 win over Swift Current. … Vincent Dunn got two goals and an assist in Gatineau’s 4-3 win over Rouyn-Noranda. Emile Poirier added a goal and an assist. … Dyson Stevenson scored a goal and collected two assists as Regina beat Lethbridge 5-2. Josh Derko tallied both Hurricanes goals. … Zach Natasiuk scored twice and assisted on another as Owen Sound defeated Guelph 6-2. Daniel Milne had three helpers. … New Buffalo Sabre prospect William Carrier scored both goals for Drummondville as they edged Sherbrooke 2-1. … Austin Lotz stopped 32 shots and Matt Pufahl had two assists in Everett’s 4-2 doubling of Tri-City. … Jake Smith stopped 16 shots for a walk in the park goose egg as North Bay shut out Mississauga 4-0.

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