Anthony Camara bests fellow Boston Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban with a rocket from the slot with five seconds left in overtime, vaulting the Barrie Colts into the series lead over the Belleville Bulls. On with the post-game questions:
Barrie 5 Belleville 4, OT (Colts lead Eastern final 2-1, Game 4 Wednesday at Barrie) — Game 3 of semifinal is too early for the defining moment of a prospect's junior career, correct? Probably, but Monday was confirmation of the growth of Anthony Camara, the scrappy striver from a single-parent home who nearly put up more points (60) in a world junior-shortened regular season than in his first three junior campaigns combined (62).
The 19-year-old power winger took on more and more ice as the Colts searched for the breakthrough in overtime against Subban, who stopped 43-of-48 shots. Late in the period, after a Belleville line change gave defenceman Jonathan Laser a chance to launch a rush into the Bulls zone, right wing Zach Hall curled out of the corner and found Camara in the slot. One deke and a heavy wrister later, the game was over.
Just like they planned it.
"At intermission, I just told Hall, I just need that one shot," Camara said. "Get it on net and hope for the best.
"I didn't have any idea [of how much time was left in the period]," he added. "I didn't even know where the net was. I just had my head down, just shot and hit the net. As the game went on, I got even hungrier."
Why should one hold off a bit on predicting this win propels the Colts to a win Wednesday and a 3-1 strangehold? It all depends how quickly the Colts and Bulls, who are largely even on paper, recover from a quintessential empty-the-tanks playoff game.
Going down by two goals and two skaters — overage forward Joseph Cramarossa and puck-moving defenceman Jordan Subban were each tossed for five-and-a-game fouls, see below — put the Bulls in a desperate situation. Two goals 35 seconds apart late in the second forged a 4-4 tie after 40 minutes, but it led to each team pushing the needle into the red.
"They really broke down to two lines earlier than I thought they would," Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk said. "We tried to match that a little bit. You try to monitor the fatigue level of your guys, get that third line out there a little bit to give your guys a little breather.
"I thought Anthony was getting stronger as the game went on. You want keep getting him out there when guys are starting to hit the fatigue wall."
Some second-period sloppiness let Belleville back into the game. Hawerchuk also noted that stronger starts to games have to become more "habitual" for Barrie. The upshot for the Colts is that they nabbed the series lead and scored five goals for the second game in a row, even though Mark Scheifele (one assist) did not record a multi-point game only the third time in these playoffs.
Barrle's core players let the mind control the body, rather than vice-versa. It could be affirming heading into Game 4.
"Sometimes I look down the bench and I even wonder if the guys can hear me," Hawerchuk said. "They're just trying to get their air back in their lungs. That's what you have to do as a player. Hopefully the team structure is second nature. You just get your wind back and go do it again."
Will the Bulls have Joseph Cramarossa and Jordan Subban for Game 4 after each received a major/game misconduct? Cramarossa was tossed for slew-footing Colts defenceman Jake Dotchin in the first period, moments after the Bull had scored the game's first goal. Dotchin had his back to Cramarossa when he was upended and it was well away from the play, so it was definitely a sketchy play. One source of controversy is that in Game 1, Belleville partisans believed Cramarossa was slew-footed on a play where Barrie's Jonathan Laser was whistled for holding.
Subban's check to the head of Athanasiou did not result in an injury. That is often the determining factor on supplemental discipline. In the second period, Subban pinched down the right point and either his arm or elbow struck Athanasiou, who was leaning forward while trying to poke the puck ahead and out of the Colts zone. Athanasiou, the Detroit Red Wings-drafted forward, returned for the third period.
Subban, who also had an elbowing penalty in Game 1, might have been a bit careless. It started out as a hockey play, but there was head contact at high speed.
"I've only seen them [the two penalties] quickly," Bulls coach-GM George Burnett said. "You've got to be under control, make sure you're making good choices. In that particular case, I guess we made a couple of bad ones tonight. I liked the way we responded."
Athanasiou is back on the ice for the third period, so no concussion concern, obviously.
— Stephen Sweet (@stephen_sweet) April 23, 2013
Rhetorical question? Injury usually decides“@paivatheway: Athanasiou is back on the ice for Barrie. Does Subban get suspended for head hit?”
— Craig Ripley (@Craig_Ripley) April 23, 2013
How devastating is this loss for Belleville and what must it do to win Game 4? The Bulls put themselves behind the eight-ball, falling into a 4-2 hole in the second period after two defensive-turnovers ended up in the back of their net. That was why Burnett shortened the bench. If those mistakes aren't cleaned up, Barrie could be in position to wrap up the series fast.
"Our attention to details is poor," he said. "A lot of mistakes with the puck, we haven't managed it well in all three games. Tonight was another example, not putting pucks behind their defence and making them go get them like they [Barrie] are doing to our D. When the bench gets shortened, the game's got to get simpler."
One positive for the Bulls was that Malcolm Subban was his solid self coming off the mercy pull in Game 2.
"I thought Malcolm was terrific early," Burnett said. "When they score off the rush it's usually because of some breakdowns, like on the winning goal. Those are pretty tough to ask of your goaltender, to make a save on a Camara or Scheifele type player, or Hall. I'm sure he [Malcolm Subban] will be terrific on Wednesday."
Was Tyler Graovac's impact in his return from injury — goal, assist, +1 — a tease for what he could do once he regains his stamina? The Minnesota Wild prospect was Belleville's best man on the ice, which was commendable in light of how he had barely practised since being injured two weeks ago in their second-round series clincher at Sudbury. Along with the two points, he was strong defensively (which might help explain Scheifele being contained).
"It's always good to be back with the boys, especially in playoffs," said Graovac, who has eight points in as many career playoff games vs. Barrie. "The lungs were feeling it a little bit, but I got my feet under me and the boys are looking forward to the next game."
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.