Saturday, May 18, 2013

Portland V Halifax: Memorial Cup game 1


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So, before I read anything below, would it surprise any of you that I predict right now we win the Cup? 

I can see the case for it

only problem now is they're in the position where a bad luck game sinks you 

As long as the bad luck game does not happen in an elimination game, the Hawks should be OK.

Scott Sepich:

"It's obviously not the start we wanted," said Portland acting head coach Travis Green. "I thought we played really well for 25 to 27 minutes, but then the game got away from us for about 10 minutes there."
It was an especially rough night for Hawks goalie Mac Carruth, who allowed seven goals on 35 shots. The four-year WHL veteran posted a 1.63 goals-against average in the playoffs, but never looked comfortable Saturday as shots he normally stops kept finding a way to trickle past him.
When asked if he ever considered lifting Carruth for backup Brendan Burke, Green simply said, "No."

Windsor Star

Nathan MacKinnon scored at even strength, on the power play and while shorthanded in the second period Saturday as the Halifax Mooseheads exploded for five straight goals to defeat the Portland Winterhawks 7-4 in the first game at the MasterCard Memorial Cup for both teams in Saskatoon.
The slick centre from Cole Harbour, N.S., also added an assist to his hat trick, while Martin Frk, with a goal and an assist, Jonathan Drouin, Luca Ciampini and Stephen MacAuley also scored for Halifax. Zachary Fucale made 37 saves to get the win for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions, who got two assists from MacKenzie Weegar.
Willy Palov

Once the teams settled down during the first intermission, the game really opened up. Troy Rutkowski gave the Winterhawks their first lead of the game when his wrist shot from the point beat Fucale through a screen 39 seconds into the second period. Ty Rattie then put Portland ahead 3-1 92 seconds later with a nice backhand after cutting into the slot.
But Halifax's Jonathan Drouin responded just 65 seconds when he chipped a rebound over Carruth to cut the lead to 3-2. Nathan MacKinnon squared the game at 3-3 80 seconds later when he tipped Brendan Duke's point shot. The goal capped a combined four-goal outburst that lasted fewer than four minutes.

 I think this game is as simple as Carruth had a bad game.  I've been on record backing the guy, especially after Game 5 of the Finals.  Mac Carruth is the reason that the 'Hawks are in the Memorial Cup.  The way he plays the game is comprised of many double edged swords, chriping, being involved physically, actively playing the puck, etc etc etc.  He's a character - one that doesn't come around very often.  Kid is polarizing, but the numbers speak for themselves - and you don't become the playoff wins leader in a league like the WHL on accident.  You dance with the one that brought you.

Carruth will respond. Most of the post-game reaction that I put stock into agrees.  Getting smacked in the face might be the best thing that could happen to this team early in this tournament: now they have some adversity to deal with.  They can run with that "backs against the wall" mentality.

I didn't see anything wrong with the 'Hawks that isn't correctable for Monday night.  I heard a few references to the team we saw tonight being last years 'Hawks - and that seems accurate.  They haven't slumped in this years playoffs, and they won't start now.
 "It's simple mistakes, a couple giveaways and loose guys that needed to be picked up, plus penalties we shouldn't have taken," Rattie said. "It's all things that can be fixed, and we'll be better Monday."

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