MACKINAC ISLAND MOOSE
|SERIES PREVIEW||The Sasquatch and Moose, brothers in the wilds of North America, are now foes on the ice. Both teams with at least 90 games in the rearview mirror, including their respective Conference Championships.
The Sasquatch #1 line definitely the class of the league, led by the Great One. 151 goals between the 3 linemates. Moose with a not too shabby set in the first 3 lines, with 129, 101, and 72 goals scored respectively.
When the 5 on 4 situation pops up, the Moose led the league with a 28% success rate, compared to 20% for Portland. The penalty kill efforts of both teams in the top of the league, with Portland at 82%, are slightly better than the 80% kill rate for Mackinac Island.
So on we go to Mackinac Island for games 1 and 2 of the MWHL League Championship
|GAME #1||Both teams get scoring chances early, and before 90 seconds are off the clock, both goalies have a save on their side of the sheet. About 5 minutes in, the first mistake, and Johnson gets called for roughing. The first PP for the Moose is frustrating, as they only get 1 SOG. The Sasquatch block 2 other shots, and even gets a steal and a push down the ice, put a poke check kills the possible shortie opportunity, and we play on. At the 10-minute mark, the Moose with their first mistake, and it’s a big one, a cross-check by Giles and 4 minutes on the PP for Portland. Slow progress by Portland, as a miss and 2 blocked shots are all they can muster in the first 2 minutes. But then a shot by Cyr, save, rebound, and McBain with the rebound shot into the net. Portland is up 1-0 with a little over 7 minutes to go. Just one minute later, a missed shot by the Moose results in a push-up the ice for Portland. Into the zone, passes by Carbonneau, Siltanen, to Wells, shot at the net, redirected by Hamel, and Melanson can’t react quick enough. Goal. The Sasquatch are now up 2-0 with a little over 6 minutes left in the 1st, and the Moose are stunned. Right after the center face-off, Fogolin and Maruk in a small skirmish, and we get 2 minutes of 4 on 4. About one minute into the open ice, another fight, this one much more entertaining. Foligno and Campbell. Campbell the loser, getting stitches, and both getting 5 minutes. The rest of the period passes by uneventfully, and we go to the first intermission, in a subdued Bullwinkle Arena, with the Sasquatch up 2-0.
An early mistake in the 2nd period for the Moose …… a hooking penalty by Ruskowski. The Moose PK unit frustrates the Portland squad, limiting them to only 1 SOG and 1 blocked shot. A little back and forth is followed by a Sasquatch entry, Fogolin to Hunter, with a blast from the blue line past Melanson. And it’s now 3-0 Portland. 12 minutes to go in the period, and a Maruk tripping penalty has the arena very quiet. In the PP, Portland manages 3 shots, all saved, and the Moose take possession, push hard up ice as Maruk comes back on the ice, pass to Maruk, ahead of the defense, he zings one just as he passes the blue line and it finds the opening to the net, and the Moose is on the board with their first goal. 3-1 Portland, and a little hope for the Moose. Redemption for Maruk. Play winds down to about the 5-minute mark when Johnson gets called for hooking. Moose on the PP and off the faceoff, it’s a Rogers shot, save, rebound, Propp shot block, Lysiak to Beers who slaps it in, and GOAL. Moose cut the lead to 1, and life back into the Arena with just under 5 minutes to go. Back and forth play and the clock winds toward 0. A mental lapse by Suter gets him called for hooking with 13 seconds left. We go to break with Portland up 3-2.
The 3rd opens with hope in the fan’s hearts and the Moose on PP. The Moose get 1 SOG, 2 blocked shots, 1 missed shot, and now are down by 1 with 18 minutes to go. A Beers holding call tilts the ice in favor of the Sasquatch as they get a chance on PP. Frustrating PP for the Sasquatch, multiple lost pucks, plus a steal leading to a Moose 2 on 1, saved by Lemelin. Portland recovers and gets 2 SOG in the final seconds, but no scores. Minutes later a Portland 2-on-1 ends with a Ciccarelli mishandle and turnover. The clock now passes by the 10-minute mark. And then past the 5-minute mark. Moose turns up the aggressiveness. As the clock burns past 4 minutes, the Moose gain entry … passes, and more passes, finally finds Quinn open and he connects … GOAL …. Tied at 3 with 2:39 to go. Plenty of time for these high-powered offenses. A 3-on-2 rush by the Moose is thwarted by Lemelin with just over 2 minutes to go. Moose control with 2 shots down to the last 60 seconds, then the Sasquatch comes up ice and controls the last minute with a couple of shots. Nobody scores. Off to overtime tied at 3.
OVERTIME – An early turnover sees the dreaded odd-man rush for Portland’s #1 line, and a rare wide shot by Gretzky to the relief of the Moose. Strong defensive efforts by both teams see most zone entries stopped without a shot. Finally, just under 5 minutes into OT, Moose dump it in, Propp to Lysiak and back to Propp, slap shot, ………. GOAL. Bedlam………. Moose win 4-3.
SOG – Moose 24, Portland 20
1st star – Propp 1G 3pts
FINAL – Moose 4, Sasquatch 3 OT
|GAME #2||After a scoreless 6 minutes, the first mistake by Beers, tripping, puts Portland on the PP. As expected, good defense results in just 1 SOG, 2 blocked shots, one wide, and we skate on with 12 minutes left. Cote nailed for a high stick just a minute later, and another PP for Portland. 3 shots on goal, and none find paydirt. 8 minutes to go. At the 5 minute mark, Hunter gets called for tripping. Moose a chance at the PP. Off the face-off, a number of passes find Bothwell near the blue line, and he wrists the puck into the net to break the scoreless tie. 1-0 Moose. 5 more minutes of good defense, and we go to intermission 1-0 Moose.
2nd period, as the clock moves past 19 minutes to go, a zone entry by the Moose, good passing keep the Sasquatch off balance until MacLean finds Kurri open, and he wrists one in. His 11th of the playoffs, and the Moose is up now 2-0. Off the center puck drop, Portland with a 3 on 2, but Melanson with the save. A minute later, Price was caught with a cross-check, and Portland with another PP chance. Gretzky wins the faceoff, pass to Ciccarelli, quick shot, beats Melanson……… GOAL. Moose’s lead was cut in half. 2-1. At the 15-minute mark, Hunter and Campbell have a little fight, and we have some 4-on-4 action. Nothing comes of it, and we move on. O’Connell takes the puck from Carbonneau, and a dump to the corner, MacLean gets it, pass to Ladouceur, shot, tipped by MacLean…….. GOAL .. Moose is now up 3-1 with 9 minutes to go in the 2nd. Before the fans get a chance to settle back down, Moose with the center face-off, Price finds Lysiak, who drives past Hamel and fires an open shot into the net. Now 4-1 Moose with just over 8 minutes in the period. Just under 6 minutes to go, and a faceoff in the Moose zone. Pass to Ciccarelli, he shoots … redirect by Foligno, into the net, and the Sasquatch are definitely not done today. It’s 4-2 Moose, but Portland has the momentum. A couple of minutes later, Hunter called for hooking and the mood shifts back to Mackinac Island. A very productive PP sees 4 SOG, all saved. As we get back to 5 on 5, a small fight between Foligno and Quinn changes the ice to 4 on 4. A wide shot by Howe ends the period. Off the intermission with the Moose up 4-2.
The 4 on 4 winds up scoreless, and we skate on with 18 minutes left. Ciccarelli gets called for charging at the 16-minute mark. Great defense by Portland on the PK sees the Moose manage to get only one shot which was blocked. Immediately as we get to full strength, Hunter and MacLean in a scuffle, and we have 4 man skaters for 2 minutes. No damage once again, and we skate on to the 10-minute mark when MacLean gets called for yet another penalty, charging. All the Sasquatch can manage is 2 blocked shots, and on we go. At the 4-minute mark, an odd-man rush by Portland sees a Siltanen shot stopped by Melanson. As the clock winds down past 2 minutes, the Moose are able to get into the Portland zone and control the puck for 90 seconds with nifty passing. Portland finally is able to get the puck and pull the goalie, but only 30 seconds left. As they skate up ice they lose the puck and any chance at a comeback. Moose hold on for the 4-2 win.
SOG – Moose 30, Portland 26
1st star – Lysiak 1G 2pts
|Moose succeed in holding the home-ice advantage, winning both games. 8 goals from 8 different players is a good sign the Moose have potential from all lines.
Off we go …………. long flight to the west coast and surely what will be a hostile arena in Portland.
With Portland down 2-0 in the series we head to Veterans Memorial Coliseum for Game #3
|GAME #3||Portland has a crucial game #3 to try to get back into the series and a rowdy standing room only crown packs Veterans Memorial Coliseum to root on the Sasquatch
Portland jumps out to a quick 1-0 lead when Hunter (8) gets a short-handed breakaway goal after a quick holding penalty by Foligno 2:06 into the first period. T the 7:34 mark of the period Mackinac Island’s Beers (5) evens the score.
The second period found Mackinac Island taking a 2-1 lead when MacLean (12) finds the back of the net to a stunned Portland crowd
The Sasquatch enters the locker room trying to find some offense in the third period but MacLean silences the crowd quickly when he scores his 2nd goal of the game just 46 seconds into the period to give the Moose a 3-1 lead. With backs against the wall, Portland’s Gretzky decides to take over and pulls the Sasquatch to within 1 when he scores his 13th goal of the playoffs at the 9:33 mark. Putting Portland on his back Gretzky ties the score with 2:21 remaining in the game and the Portland crowd came alive.
With deafening noise level it appeared the game was heading to OT but with 23 seconds remaining MacLean gets a hat trick when he scores on a breakaway off a Portland turnover to give the Moose a 4-3 win and a commanding 3-0 series lead
Star #1 – MacLean 3 goals
Shots were even at 36
Portland falls in game 3 and finds themselves in desperation mode behind 3-0 in the series
|GAME #4||We have arrived at game 4 with Mackinac Island holding a commanding 3-0 series lead.
Portland is in desperation mode as they are being 3-0 in the series and will look to Gretzky to give some hope and a home win
Mackinac Island opens the scoring in the 1st period when Rogers (1) gets his first goal of the playoffs 2:46 into the period and silences the Portland crowd
With the game still 1-0 Mackinac Island and 36 remaining in the 2nd period Portland’s Howe energizes the crowd with his 3rd goal of the playoffs and we head to the locker room with a 1-1 tie.
Through the first 40 minutes of the game Portland managed to outshoot the Moose 21-15 but Mackinac Island was able to keep Gretzky relatively quiet. Things were starting to look bleak for Portland when Mackinac Island took a 2-1 lead 3:12 into the period when O’Connell (3) got a short-handed goal and the Moose took a 2-1 lead. When times are tough that is when great players take over a game and Gretzky decided it was his time. At the 15:12 mark, Gretzky netted his 15th goal of the playoffs to even the score at 2-2 and scored again 43 seconds later to give Portland a 3-2 lead
With 2:21 remaining Portland’s McKenna gets called for a 2-minute elbowing penalty and the Moose go on a power play. With the Portland crowd on the edge of their seats, Mackinac Island pounds the goal but was unable to find the back of the net. With 1:24 remaining they pull their goalie and go on a 6-4 rush and manage to get 8 shots off during that power play but Reggie Lemelin was incredible in the goal and held off every shot. Portland gets outshot 18-7 in the period, with 8 shots coming in the last 2:21, but manages to win 3-2
Star #1 – Gretzky 2 goals
|Portland manages to win Game #4 and we head back to Mackinac Island with the Moose holding a strong 3-1 series lead.
After the split in Portland, the Moose return to Mackinac Island up 3 games to 1. With 3 of the 4 games a 1 goal win, indicates we should not expect anything but excitement today. Both teams with their #1 goalies in net.
|GAME #5||Bullwinkle Arena standing room only. Fire Marshall Dudley Do-Right making sure of no issues. Moose controlled play early, keeping the Sasquatch at bay with physical play. The first mistake occurs just 5 minutes in when Wells gets nailed for charging. Moose struggles to get organized on the PP and ultimately turns it over to Carbonneau who zips up ice all alone, only to be stoned by an acrobatic save by Melanson. In the final 30 seconds of the PP, the Moose manage 2 SOG, but their first PP is a poor effort. Tension boils over at the 10-minute mark when MacLean and Foligno drop gloves. The draw is declared and 5 minutes for each combatant. On we go with the scoreless tie. Moose convert a turnover into a rush, but Kurri shoots wide. Scoreless with 7 minutes to go. A minute later, more frustration, and Hunter v. Price results in 2 minutes of 4 on 4. In the midst of a line change, Cirella to Gretzky to Foligno, low zinger, into the net … GOAL .. and Portland goes up 1-0. Immediately off the center puck drop, another skirmish, Crossman, and MacLean now in the box. More 4 on 4. A minute later, Propp with a high stick, and now it’s 4 on 3 PP for Portland. Moose prevent any shot until reinforcements make it 5 on 4. Portland manages 1 SOG and then the horn sounds. Off to intermission with Portland up 1-0
Portland continues the PP, and 2 SOG later, the PK ends with no damage. Immediately after, Campbell with a roughing call and the Moose are back on the PK. Tough play by the Moose allows only one blocked shot before Portland turns it over. Ladouceur and Rogers speed up ice and it’s Ladouceur with a rare shortie, .. GOAL .. game tied at 1. Gretzky leaves the ice with a minor shoulder injury. Play moves on until just under 13 minutes to play when a Portland entry catches the Moose off-balance, and Hunter finds Sutter in an opening and he scores .. GOAL … to make it 2-1 Portland. Two minutes later, in the Portland zone, MacLean digs one off the boards, a give and go with O’Connell, and MacLean takes the return pass, one timer …. GOAL …. and we are tied again. 2-2 with 10 minutes to go. 3 goals in 10 minutes and things are heating up. Just 2 minutes later, a Moose turnover sees a Portland rush …. up ice … but a nice save by Melanson. And then, another fight. Campbell and Hunter. Campbell with a TKO and both get 5 minutes. Just under 6 minutes to go, and Carbonneau called for cross-checking gives the Moose a solid chance to take the lead. On the PP, the Moose get 3 SOG, even one tipped shot, but Lemelin stops them all, and we continue tied at 2. Another 2 minutes elapse until Wells v. Price, won by Wells, puts those 2 in the penalty box with 2 minutes to go. A few more SOG, and the horn sounds. After 2 periods both teams have 2 goals and 23 PIM.
3 minutes into the 3rd period, no penalties yet, and Cirella knocks Propp off the puck, Hunter and Cirella rush up ice and do a number on Melanson, and that number is 3 ……… GOAL … and the Sasquatch once again have the lead, now 3-2, with 17 minutes to go. One minute later, Price with a roughing call, and the Moose in dicey locale, down 1 and on the PK. After a clear by the Moose, a zone entry try by Portland, Rogers knocks the puck away from Perreault, speeds down the ice with O’Connell, O’Connell feeds Rogers who finds the back of the net for another shortie … GOAL … and the Moose have tied it once again. 3-3 with 16 minutes to go. One minute later Giles knocks Gretzky off the puck, another rush, Cote and Maruk … but Cote misplays the puck, and on we go tied at 15 minutes to go. 2 minutes later … Moose in the Portland zone …. Ladouceur shoots .. tipped by Kurri … past Lemelin … GOAL .. and the Moose have their first lead of the game. 4-3 Moose with just over 12 minutes to go. Right off the center ice faceoff, Price with a holding penalty …. argh … and here come the Sasquatch. The Moose PK unit is up to the task and frustrates the Portland PP crew, holding them to 1 blocked shot and 1 missed shot. 10 minutes to go … 4-3 Moose. Just seconds later, the Sasquatch with a mental mistake … Cirella called for interference. The Moose PP is a little too exciting for the Portland bench, as 3 blocked shots and 4 SOG are each heart-stopping moment. But Lemelin and the PK squad stand tall to keep it a one-goal game with now just over 7 minutes to go. A breakout by Gretzky at the 6 minutes mark has the Moose holding their breath, but Rogers hits the Great One hard and stops that attempt. Clock winds down under 4 and a zone entry by the Moose sees a penalty called on Crossman for tripping. The Portland bench is really hot about that one. Moose are unable to do much on the PK, but just as Crossman comes back on the ice, Lysiak puts a move on Foligno and attacks the goal … a low laser beam past Lemelin .. GOAL … and the Moose are now up 5-3.
2 minutes to go. Portland is down 2. They go all in and pull the goalie for the center face-off. Gretzky is on as the extra attacker. Portland wins the face-off and comes into the zone. Gretzky shoots, Melanson saves, rebound, Perreault for Gretzky, shot, Melanson stick save, rebound to Gretzky, to Perrault, to Howe, shot, GOAL ….. Portland has cut the lead to 1. Off the center face-off, Moose control, Rogers shoots to the empty net, misses, icing, faceoff in the Moose zone. 53 seconds to go. Perrault one-timer, blocked by O’Connell, Portland line change, 30 seconds left, Gretzky shot, deflected by Cirelli, wide of the goal. Gretzky slap shot, Melanson save. Beers with the puck, to Cote, to O’Connell, to Cote, shot at the empty net, misses, and Portland can’t get the puck back up ice in time for another shot, horn sounds… Bedlam in Bullwinkle Arena ……… Mackinac Moose are Stanley Cup Champions!
|SERIES SUMMARY||I need a drink ….. these one-goal games are exciting.
Congratulations to Chris Mannen and the Portland Sasquatch on an excellent season. Unfortunately on the wrong side of 3 one-goal games, one being in overtime. A worthy foe and definitely worthy of their Eastern Conference Championship.
The game 4 difference was definitely those 2 short-handed goals by Ladouceur and Rogers, who don’t score all that much. A huge flip of momentum when those occurred. Gretzky missing for about 10 minutes of ice time may have been a factor in some of that.
Thanks to Stray for another great season of MWOTHL. Thanks for giving all of us the platform to enjoy these 6 months of hockey action.