We'll give our first star of the night to a rising star in the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha, who has been a very pleasant story in Val d'Or this season. When TSN released its mid-season draft rankings Wednesday night, Mantha was listed at No. 19. He is, of course, a single day from the cut-off of being eligible for the 2012 draft, but the extra year gives him an advantage over other prospects from the 2013 class.
Mantha is fifth in the "Q" in scoring, notching his 40th goal of the season in a wild contest between the Foreurs and Blainville-Boisbriand at le Centre d'Excellence Sports Rousseau. Down 3-1 early in the second, Mantha knocked in his 39th on the powerplay to make the score 3-2. Midway through the third period, his team down 5-4, Mantha knocked in his 40th to tie the score and sent the game to a shootout, where he easily beat Armada goaltender Guillaume Decelles in the fourth round for the winner.
No. 2 Star - Daniil Zharkov, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
While Nail Yakupov was off scoring overtime winners in Phoenix at the NHL-level, his fellow Russian Edmonton Oilers-select from the 2012 draft scored his first career hat-trick for the Belleville Bulls in an absolute romp over the Kingston Frontenacs. His third goal sounds as if it were easy on the eyes:
The Frontenacs were quickly put back in their place though, as Daniil Zharkov went to work. Feeding off the slick playmaking of Alan Quine who did a bulk of the work in outwitting the pairing of Steele and Hanes, Zharkov camped out to the right of the slot to bang in cross-crease pass at 12:03 to make it 7-1. [Belleville Bulls]
Quine, a Red Wings prospect, tallied six points on the night by way of a goal and five assists. We'll see if we can find some video of the Daniil Zharkov highlight-reel goal when it inevitably gets online…
No. 3 Star - Nic Petan, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Despite giving up their first goal in four games, it was a good night for the Portland Winterhawks. It began with Seth Jones topping TSN's mid-season draft prospects list, the 'Hawks continued to roll, defeating Kamloops 5-3 after giving up a 2-0 lead at the end of the first. Draft-eligible Nic Petan set up Ty Rattie for a goal 8:17 into the second and then Joe Mahon tied it.
Petan snapped a quick wrist shot from inside the right face-off circle to put Portland up 3-2 early in the third period, and they'd hold that lead, eventually winning 5-2. Fun fact: the top five scorers in the WHL, Petan, Brendan Leipsic, Colin Smith, Rattie and JC Lipon, were all in action (thanks to Jon Keen for pointing that out). WIth Leipsic's empty-net goal, only Lipon was held without a marker.
Honourable Mention - Ryan Moser, Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
I typically don't like to mention overage players in this space unless they do something truly notable, and it appears Ryan Moser did. He scored an unassisted game-winning goal for the Broncos over the Calgary Hitmen at 19:59 of the third period. With the Broncos so far behind the Hitmen (15 points after Wednesday's games) preventing Calgary from getting another point seems trivial for practical matters, but Moser gave a small crowd of 1891 something to cheer about.
Potent Notables: Penguins prospect Anton Zlobin scored two for Val-d'Or… Jordan Binnington stopped 37 of 38 shots as Owen Sound won their second in a week over Eastern-leading Barrie… Five different goal scorers, including Winnipeg prospect Lukas Sutter tallied for Saskatoon in a 5-1 win against Brandon… Jackson Houck scored twice for the Giants in a rare 5-1 win over Prince Albert… Blackhawks prospect Mark McNeill scored the Raiders' lone goal in that game… 42 saves and a victory for journeyman backup Luke Lee-Knight in Tri-City's win against Prince George.