— Sean Durzi, Markus Phillips and Guelph have emerged from a 3-0 hole to force a Game 7 at London on Tuesday. Keep in mind this is a Knights team with NHL first round draft picks in Evan Bouchard, Adam Boqvist and Liam Foudy and a second round pick in Alex Formenton; both Bouchard and Formenton scored in the NHL this year. Durzi was the second star of Saturday’s win and has a goal, nine points and 31 shots on goal in 10 playoff games. Phillips, who has emerged as an interesting and multi-dimensional product by reshaping and adding layers to his defensive game, has one goal and a plus-three rating in 10 playoff games.
— Niagara trails Oshawa three games to two, with Game 6 at Oshawa’s Tribute Communities Centre tonight. Akil Thomas missed the first three games of the series but has three goals and six points in seven total playoff games.
— Sault Ste. Marie is out, falling in six games to Saginaw, who have reached the OHL’s Western Conference Final for the first time in their 17-year history. Matthew Villalta posted a 3.43 goals-against average and an .885 save percentage during their playoff run, which contained the extremes of a two-game stretch against the Spirit in which he allowed 13 goals on 46 shots, immediately followed by a 25-save shutout in an elimination game.
— Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Spokane upset Everett in five games and will face Vancouver in a high-profile Western Conference Final in which he and teammates Ty Smith (NJD 1st round) and Jake McGrew (Orange, CA native; former LA Jr. King; SJS 6th round) will face Bowen Byram’s bunch. Byram is Central Scouting’s second-ranked North American skater for the 2019 NHL Draft. More on that in a moment. JAD has three goals, 10 points, a plus-five rating and 28 shots on goal in 10 playoff games.
— And, lo, those mighty Bulldogs: Mikey Anderson won his second consecutive national championship on top of his silver and bronze medals with USA Hockey at world juniors. This is likely the cap of what has been an awfully good amateur career for the 2017 fourth round pick. When asked about Anderson two weeks ago, the team wasn’t expecting a hang-up in getting him under contract. Right now, it appears control is in the team’s hands, and they intend to sign him, so that’s something to be on the lookout for this week. Anderson had a goal and two assists in the 3-0 win over UMass in the title game.
Mikey Anderson gets loose in the slot and finds the back of the net to pad the @UMDMensHockey lead.
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) April 14, 2019
UMD Coach Scott Sandelin on Anderson to courtesy NHL.com correspondent Heather Engel:
“He has a purpose every time he comes to the rink. He wants to become a better player. He trains. He works on his game. He does all the things that you want every player to do on a regular basis.
“He enjoys coming to the rink. He enjoys playing the game. He enjoys working on his game to get better. I can’t say enough. He’s had an unbelievable year. He has got a great future ahead of him. Hopefully it’s not soon.”
After Jack Hughes, the North American Skaters list has Byram, followed by Kirby Dach (pronounced: dock), Alex Turcotte and Dylan Cozens. All will be profiled well in advance of the draft. I’d been sharing how Byram had been trending well; he jumped from fourth to second from the mid-season to final rankings, which aligned with much of the feedback I’d heard from team scouts and WHL executives, broadcasters and reporters. He’s the best defenseman in the draft and a special player. Of course, he’s also projected as a top-five or six pick, so all players in that range are special players who will draw praise. An early and speculative flash thought – the type of thoughts that power Twitter – is whether Colorado is enticed by a potential Byram-Makar pair to build a defense around and nabs him before Los Angeles gets a crack at number five. Hey, only nine and a half weeks to overthink the three-four-five draft slots!
— Lead photo via Elsa/Getty Images