What's Buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

Mantha scores Cup winner to silence stunned Baie-Comeau crowd as Val-d’Or wins third QMJHL title

Buzzing The Net

View photo

.
Val-d'Or defenceman Maxime Gravel (left) ties up Baie-Comeau forward Alec Jon Banville (right) in Game 7 of the QMJHL President's Cup final series. Va...

Val-d'Or defenceman Maxime Gravel (left) ties up Baie-Comeau forward Alec Jon Banville (right) in Game 7 of the …

In a series that capitalized on comebacks, it was only fitting the winner was scored shutting one down.

Anthony Mantha, the playoff goal-scoring leader, scored his most important goal with 52 seconds to play as the Val-d’Or Foreurs held off the QMJHL’s best team, the Baie-Comeau Drakkar to win Game 7 4-3.

Val-d’Or won the last two games of the series going away, taking Game 6 at home 6-3 and stealing a win on the road at the Centre Henry-Léonard.

The Foreurs looked to be in control of the game after two periods of play, holding a 3-0 lead despite being outshot 24-11. The Drakkar had other ideas, scoring three goals in the third period, including two in the final six minutes, to come back to tie the score at three, and it nearly looked like the QMJHL would see its first Game 7 overtime in the final series.

That’s when Mantha went for the heroics, burying a Louick Marcotte pass for his 24th goal of the post-season with just under a minute to go in the game. Mantha added two assists in the biggest game of his career to date.

The Detroit first rounder finished with 38 points in the playoffs, enough for second overall in the scoring race, behind the superhuman performance of Halifax Moosehead Jonathan Drouin and his 41 points.

The Foreurs got production from their most important players on Tuesday, as Mantha’s three points was helped by Marcotte’s two point effort and goals from Samuel Henley and Randy Gazzola. As well, a strong 40-save effort from Antoine Bibeau was the difference.

Baie-Comeau outshot Val-d’Or 43-22, but couldn’t solve Bibeau more than three times.

For his troubles, Bibeau won the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. He went 15-8, with a .913 save percentage and a GAA of 2.80. He was spectacular when he needed to be, and made coach Mario Durocher look like a genius, getting Bibeau with a fifth for a first, a third and a fourth round pick in December.

The Foreurs are the first team to win two Game 7s en route to a title.

For the Drakkar, their troubles will lay on their best players. Philippe Cadorette wasn’t good enough, with a .888 save percentage in the finals. Bibeau went .920. Charles Hudon wasn’t good enough, just 6 points in the series and going pointless in games 6 and 7. Valentin Zykov had a monster Game 5, and then just four points otherwise, while no other Drakkar scorer had more than 13 points in the playoffs.

Jérémy Grégoire, with a goal and an assist in game 7 and 12 points in the series, was the clear leader of the offense for the Drakkar, and it wasn’t enough. The team that played the best defence wasn’t a match for the league’s best offense. As it usually does, it came down to the opposite effect, and the Foreurs defence matched the Drakkar offence.

Val-d’Or is the first Quebec-based team in five years to lift the President’s Cup. Halifax won it last season, while the Saint John Sea Dogs won in 2011 and 2012, and the Moncton Wildcats won in 2010.

The Drummondville Voltigeurs are the last QMJHL champions to come from la belle province, when they won in dramatic fashion in 2009.

The Foreurs won’t have time to rest up, as they begin their quest for the Memorial Cup Friday, taking on a very rested London Knights in what will sure to be a rocking Budweiser Gardens. The Guelph Storm and Edmonton Oil Kings will also be in London, looking to win the Canadian junior hockey ultimate prize.

Val-d’Or has never won the Memorial Cup, but they have attended two previous tournaments, in 1998 and 2001. They went to the Memorial Cup final in 2001, but lost to the Red Deer Rebels in overtime.

View Comments (0)
  • Messi says he has retired from internationals

    Messi says he has retired from internationals

    Lionel Messi has said that he is to retire from international football after Argentina were beaten 4-2 by Chile in a penalty shootout in the Copa America final on Sunday, the fourth final the Barcelona striker has lost with the national side. … More »

    Reuters - 7 minutes ago
  • Biles unbeatable at U.S. gymnastics championships

    Biles unbeatable at U.S. gymnastics championships

    (Reuters) - Simone Biles recorded her highest score yet on Sunday to become the first woman in more than 40 years to win four consecutive U.S. women's gymnastics championships. The teenager posted a two-day all-around score of 125.000 in St. Louis, … More »

    Reuters - 18 minutes ago
  • Chile prove hard nut to crack for South America's best

    Chile prove hard nut to crack for South America's best

    Chile have never beaten Argentina in open play in 27 Copa America meetings in 100 years yet have twice in 12 months dashed the hopes of Lionel Messi's team of lifting a major trophy. A second successive victory on penalties in the final against … More »

    Reuters - 23 minutes ago
  • Swiss teenager Embolo joins Schalke on five-year deal

    Swiss teenager Embolo joins Schalke on five-year deal

    (Reuters) - Schalke 04 have signed striker Breel Embolo from FC Basel on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, the German side have announced. The 19-year-old Embolo, who came through the ranks at Basel, scored 24 goals in over 50 … More »

    Reuters - 24 minutes ago
  • Biles repeats as US gymnastics champion

    Biles repeats as US gymnastics champion

    The national titles are starting to run together for Simone Biles, a three-year blur of near flawlessly executed routines and carry-on cases full of medals. It's a destination Biles is finally allowing herself to think after putting up a two-day … More »

    AP - Sports - 33 minutes ago