Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha makes it rain hard hats in Val-d’Or (VIDEO)

Here it is, your moment of junior hockey zen: plastic hard hats cascading down from the stands at Centre Air Creebec in Val-d'Or, Que., on Tuesday night.

Try to look past, momentarily, the fact the ensuing delay after Val-d'Or Foreurs fans littered the ice with giveaway novelty headgear after Detroit Red Wings first-round pick Anthony Mantha scored his third goal of the game gave the Halifax Mooseheads a chance to regroup. At that moment, with a four-goal lead, it was somewhat unlikely that the Mooseheads would rally to win 6-5 in overtime and get back into the Quebec League semifinal. There was, in that moment, something just so wonderfully primal and right about the denizens of a honest-to-goodness junior hockey barn in a one of the smallest communities that hosts major junior hockey erupting in an if-it-feels-good-do-it display.


Shortly after play resumed, Tampa Bay Lightning first-rounder Jonathan Drouin set up two goals in 58 seconds to get Halifax within striking distance at 5-3. The Mooseheads scored twice in the final six minutes of regulation, making it possible to win overtime.

Either way, for all the challenges the smaller-market teams in all three major junior leagues face in keeping up with your London Knightses and Quebec Rempartses who have the entitlement of hosting Memorial Cup tournaments, the game's heart beats the loudest in outposts such as Val-d'Or. There is a long way to go for Mantha and the Foreurs, but having a team in a remote community of 32,000 be able to challenge for the President's Cup and a trip to the Memorial Cup is one of the great features of junior.

Mantha, of course, is having a boffo postseason with 14 goals for the Foreurs.

Of course, given the way Halifax rallied, the Foreurs faithful might wish to exercise some restraint if their beloveds build a big lead again in the series. After all, the better part of Val-d'Or is discretion.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (video: Telus).

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