Monday, May 20, 2013

The Moose ran over the Hawks

Nathan MacKinnon (CHL/WHL/Steve Hiscock)
The Portland Winterhawks should have known that their day was going to wind up bad when the anthem singer royally messed up the Star Spangled Banner and had to be rescued by the fans. Too bad the fans couldn't rescue the Winterhawks from Nathan MacKinnon and his Halifax Mooseheads who did what no WHL team could do during the season and that was score 7 goals in a 7-4 win. It wasn't that Portland played badly but rather Nathan MacKinnon just played better in what could be said was a "statement" game over who was the best prospect heading into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

MacKinnon hung a hat trick plus an assist for a 4 point game on the Winterhawks as the Mooseheads scored 5 goals in the 2nd period to turn a 3-1 Portland lead into a 6-3 Mooseheads lead. It was a very impressive game from the QMJHL champions and if anything made sure the Western Canadian hockey fans knew that they were a legit contender.

MacKinnon at least for Saturday showed why he too was worthy of being the first pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft making Portland goalie Mac Carruth look rather suspect in net. Portland outshot Halifax, outchanced them but could not outscore them especially when it counted. Others called Stephen MacAulay's 3rd period goal the one that put the nail in Portland's coffin but I have to disagree as I believe Portland's demise came late in the 2nd period when trailing 5-3 and on the power play.

Nathan MacKinnon scored his 3rd goal of the game, a shorthanded goal to push the lead to 6-3 and giving Halifax a lot of momentum going into the 3rd period. It allowed Halifax to weather Portland's charge early in the 3rd period when they scored a power play goal just a little over a minute in the period and then going right back on the power play. Big difference going into the 3rd period up 3 goals and it played out that way too with Portland unable to score just the one quick goal.

So now having beaten the team most (including yours truly) picked as the favorites in this year's cup, the Mooseheads take on Saskatoon on Sunday and sorry despite having 2 Ranger prospects on their roster, even before Halifax's win over Portland that Saskatoon is no match for Halifax. Only way Saskatoon beats Halifax is if Halifax beats themselves and that is hard to imagine.

Portland gets a day off to get ready to face OHL champs the London Knights in what most likely will be game 1 of the semi-finals.

And if you haven't seen it by now here is the Saskatoon fans coming to the rescue of Alexis Normand who just royally screwed up the American anthem. I am not going to jump on her case too much as over the years I have seen some really bad performances (worst in recent history was a cello player who's effort sounded more like he was high on something) but I am going to point the finger at the host committee for not making sure she had the words down pat.

Didn't they bother to rehearse before the game like 80% of those I have seen "perform" the anthem? The crowd gets the stick tap for trying to rescue her but the goat horns belong on the host committee who have 48 hours to make sure the next person to attempt to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" knows the words and can sing them.

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