real time fan discussion
Scott SepichI have been watching and following junior hockey since 1979 ... I simply dont recall a big game ...championship game where one player (non goalie) ...one player was the difference - absolutely dominating performance by McKinnonunited001 likes this.
The Hawks had one more push, scoring twice in the last six minutes to pull within 5-4, but Nathan MacKinnon scored his third goal of the game into an empty net to give the Mooseheads their first Memorial Cup title.
“The guys are pretty upset,” said Portland acting head coach Travis Green about coming up one win short. “They played hard all year and losing a game of this magnitude is tough.
“We didn’t have the first period that we wanted but showed a lot of heart to get back into it. As a coach I have to be proud of the way our team fought back.”
What can you say?
That 3 goal lead the 'Hawks spotted the Moose is gonna sink you almost every time. This one was different, in that generally when giving up the first 3 goals you can point to mistakes: the goalie should have had this one, the D man had a bad pinch - sending the opposition on a odd man break, etc. It felt to me that all of the Halifax goals were just really good players making unstoppable plays. I'm not sure you can point to much and say, "If player X would have done a better job...."
The 2nd period was fun - bringing the 'Hawks right back into the game. I had to remind some folks that this team was capable of scoring 3, 4, 5 - or more - goals in a game. They had done it all year. The 4 they ended up with wasn't enough on this night.
Of course you can play 'what if' - Taylor Leier was having a hell of a tournament prior to his injury. Bittner didn't seem to click on that line, although they didn't have much time to adjust to each other. Preston Kopeck was having a pretty good playoff run as well - played his role just as he was asked to.
There was the crossbar that Bjorkstand rung - 1" lower on the shot, and its a tie game. I really thought that Rattie disallowed goal was going to stand: anywhere else on the ice, if the puck goes off of a player from the other team, the hand pass is canceled. Ethier one of those plays goes in the 'Hawks favor, and we might have a different outcome.
They made it to the last possible game, and were in it for 59 minutes. In any other league, 16 wins = hoist the cup and go home. 58 other CHL teams would love to trade places with the 'Hawks. Its just gonna be hard to realize how special that WHL championship is after coming so close to the Memorial Cup.