No. 1 star: Mark Scheifele, Barrie Colts (OHL)
The Winnipeg Jets email inbox is probably overflowing with thank-yous from fans of Barrie and, quite possibly, some who support 18 other OHL teams. Scheifele, whose return from the Jets to play out his 19-year-old season shaped the Colts' season scored four goals in a fast and furious third period to lead the Colts to a 6-4 comeback win and 3-1 series lead over the favoured London Knights. For the second night in a row, Scheifele (4G-1A, +2) affirmed why, regardless of who gets the OHL's player of the year award on Thursday, he has been the league's best forward since Alex Galchenyuk graduated from the Sarnia Sting to the Montreal Canadiens in January.
The final is far from over, since the defending champion Knights are eminently capable of overcoming a 3-1 deficit. The imagined best-case scenario going into the series was that Barrie might be even though four games. That 2-2 tie seemed likely after Barrie scored in the first minute on a Scheifele setup and then fell behind 3-1 on the scoreboard.
The Colts began the third period on a power play. As the penalty expired, defenceman Aaron Ekblad used to his reach to protect the puck and took it to the net, creating the chance for Scheifele to deposit some loose change top shelf to pull Barrie with 3-2. Josh MacDonald stuck it to his hometown team by tying the game 33 seconds later. London went back ahead 4-3, but Scheifele struck 74 seconds later by one-timing a backhand feed from Zach Hall (4A, +1, before leaving with an injury) to level at 4-4. Hall also made a perfect diagonal feed through the Knights' penalty-killing box that Scheifele one-timed home for the go-ahead goal. Barrie hung on the rest of the way, with Scheifele completing his mortarboard trick by scoring the empty-net clincher.
#OHL said before the series Knights would win. Only chance Colts had was if Scheifele played unconscious and Stolarz fell apart. Guess what
— Morris Dallacosta(@MoDaCoatLFPress) May 9, 2013
Plymouth Whalers centre Vince Trocheck (OHL-best 109 points in 63 games, 24 in 15 playoff contests) is expected to be named the OHL's most outstanding player on Thursday. It's an easy guess who would win if a re-vote was held.
No. 2 star: Martin Frk, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
The Mooseheads' big Nathan MacKinnon-Jonathan Drouin-Frk line, quiet through three games, brought Halifax to the brink of its first President's Cup by broke out by combining for 11 points as Halifax beat Baie-Comeau 7-4 to bring a 3-1 series lead home for Game 5 on Friday. The Mooseheads, as has sometimes been their tendency, needed a period or so to break down the best-laid plans of a tight-checking opponent. Then they scored five goals in fewer than seven minutes to take control of the game and scarcely looked back.
Frk (2G-3A, +3) got all of his points in that second period. The Detroit Red Wings second-rounder had an assist on a goal by the playing-hurt Drouin (1G-3A, +2) 7:08 into the period, then scored 15 seconds later to pull Halifax into a 2-all tie. The 19-year-old Czech tied the game again midway through the period, then assisted on goals by MacKinnon (1G-1A, +1) and captain Trey Lewis. By the time the period mercifully ended for the Drakkar, people in Halifax were already heading downtown to line up for tickets for the potential series clincher.
— Steve Carr (@scarr15) May 9, 2013
No. 3 star: Mac 'The Truth' Carruth, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
All the goings-on in the two games back east — comebacks, five-point nights, a Drakkar fan scoring a direct hit on Nate MacKinnon with a beer can — means it was kismet the Dub game was neat and tidy. Portland, cue The Imperial March, is also one win away from the league title after shading the host Edmonton Oil Kings 2-1 for a 3-1 series lead.
The Winterhawks were workmanlike, with overager Carruth stopping 29-of-30 shots to claim first-star honours. Nashville Predators prospect Brendan Leipsic (1G-1A, +1) got in on both Portland goals for the only scoring of the first two periods. Portland locked it down from that point; Edmonton did muster a goal from Mitch Moroz, but had only seven shots during the most desperate 20 minutes of its season. All told, Carruth has a 1.60 average and .938 save percentage in these playoffs, while helping Portland go an eye-popping 8-1 on the road.
— Guy Flaming (@TPS_Guy) May 9, 2013
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.