MACKINAC ISLAND MOOSE
|SERIES PREVIEW||CapJack Rangers come to the Island in search of their first Cup. Defending Champs, Mackinac wants nothing more than to repeat winning the Cup last season.|
|GAME #1||Both defenses come out a bit shaky, and the result is a lot of business for the goalies. The zeroes stay on the board until just after the 8 minutes expire when Barr digs one off the boards, flips it to Arniel, and finds an opening glove side to put the Rangers up 1-0. Play continues clean deep into the period. Finally, Propp shoots, save, and rebound and Kurri is there to find the puck and jam it in. All tied at 1. And that’s how the period ends.
Defenses come out a little cranked up in the 2nd. And that means ………….. penalties! But before that, right off the faceoff, Trottier to Kromm to Crowder into the net, and the Rangers with a lightning-fast goal to go up by 1. Now the penalties ….. First Trottier for CapJack, a minor for holding. The Rangers with a robust PK hold the Moose to just 1 SOG on the PP, much to the disgust of the home fans. Just as the penalty ends, Price gets called for holding, and now the Moose go on PK. The Rangers are a bit more effective on their PP, making Beaupre work, and he does, making 4 saves. Nothing goes in, and we stay at 2 to 1 Rangers with 12 minutes left. A few minutes later Russell and Giles with matching roughing minors open up the ice for 4 on 4, but nothing comes of it. Near the end of the period Zezel called for a slashing double minor. Moose with a big hole to dig out of now. As the first minor winds down McNab with a shot, and a big rebound, Robinson gets the puck in space and works to the net, finds an opening, and scores with just 10 seconds left on the clock. CapJack to the locker room is now up 3-1.
The Moose come out a bit more aggressive in the 3rd. Shortly after the clock drops below 15 minutes, Haworth gets called for a double minor high stick. That proves costly as a Zezel shot is blocked, Zezel with the rebound passes to an open Frycer who puts it in to cut the lead to 1. It’s now 3-2 Rangers. The Moose are unable to convert the 2nd minor and the clock winds down to 10 minutes to go. Moose crank it up a little more and start throwing more rubber. Finally, on a zone entry, Kurri with a low-percentage shot hopes for a rebound, but it finds the back of the net. GOAL. We are tied at 3. Rangers struggle to get much offensive attack going, while the Moose continue with the shots. Still, nothing going on as the clock goes under 2 minutes. Amazingly, a double minor slashing is called on Boutilier with just 71 seconds remaining. The Moose get the top line on the ice and start blasting away. Kurri shoots, block, cleared the puck, Maruk shoots, save, faceoff, Kurri shoots, blocked, Maruk to Propp to Kurri to Maruk, one timer, GOAL. 6 seconds left, and the faceoff eats up the rest of the clock.
Moose escape with a 4-3 off a 3-goal 3rd-period comeback.
Moose with a gutsy comeback to grab game 1. Some late penalties definitely a big factor.
The Moose put wily veteran Milles Meloche in the net for game 2. Weeks in the net for CapJack in their goalie rotation.
|GAME #2||Moose with the first mistake early. A Maruk tripping minor puts them on the PK barely 3 minutes into the period. Fortunately the Rangers equally un-adept early in the game, and they can only manage 1 SOG in the 2 minutes. The Moose move the puck up ice and a few quick passes & finds Kurri at the dot and he makes quick work of the situation, GOAL ………. Moose is up 1-0. Immediately after the face-off, Maloney and Ladouceur are in a dust-up, and we have some 4 on 4 action. Less than a minute later, Kromm called for a trip, and now it’s 4 on 3. All that open ice gives Kurri some room to work and he makes it 2-0 pretty quickly. A couple of minutes later another Rangers penalty, Beck, and the Moose are licking their lips to end this game quickly. But all they get is a determined Rangers PK unit, combined with uninspired PP play, all the Moose is one shot, blocked, and a botched chance to grab this game by the throat. As Beck comes back on the ice and the Moose line change, the Rangers take advantage of a somewhat disorganized retreat by the Moose, and it’s Donnelly to Sauve to Bugstad with an opening and he runs through to score and cut the margin back to 1. It’s 2-1 Moose with just under 7 minutes to go in the 1st. Off the faceoff the Moose, or should I say, Jari Kurri, wastes no time flipping the momentum as Kurri roars into the zone and blasts a laser beam right by Weeks to ignite the arena, and hats rain down on the ice for a one-period hat trick. The Moose is up 3-1. For the next 4 minutes, the Moose play offense more than defense and the crowd is in anticipation of a 4th goal ………………. only to see the Moose bobble a zone entry and the Rangers move the puck up ice …. Moose scrambling to catch up, chasing the puck …… nifty passes by Trottier, Kromm, and Crowder with Crowder finishing this one off, GOAL ………. and the Rangers cut the lead to 1 again. After the faceoff, the Moose survive an odd-man rush by the Rangers and mercifully keep that 1 goal lead heading to the lockers. 3-2 Moose.
2nd period does not match up to the 1st for excitement as both defenses stiffen. Each team racks up only one minor, and the respective PK units do their jobs. And as the teams head to break, each has stopped 10 shots, and the score remains 3-2 Moose. An uneasy home crowd heads for refills and what promises to be a tense 3rd period.
Moose with a few good scoring chances to begin the 3rd as the Rangers kill off the final seconds of a late 2nd period minor. Then the Moose turn right around and open the door for the Rangers with a holding call on Bothwell. The Moose PK unit shines this time and through scrappy play keeps the puck in the neutral zone a bit, then gets control of the puck and manages a few shots, while the Rangers look a little lost. The Rangers never got a shot on goal before the penalty expires. A skirmish between Gilbert and Pettersson opens up the ice for a couple of minutes, but no damage on either side, and the game passes the 10 minutes mark. A breakaway by Barr at the 8 minutes mark pits him against Meloche, and Meloche wins this one to keep the score at 3-2 Moose. Robinson gives Kurri a crushing check which leads to an odd-man rush for the Rangers, Wickenheiser, and Haworth, but Meloche stops the Haworth shot, and the clock passes 7 minutes to go. Both teams with solid defense and most zone entries are stopped before any shots. A Ranger entry is stopped by MacLean, followed by a Zezel breakaway, which ends up with a nifty save by Weeks as the clock drops under 4 minutes to go. And as the clock bleeds under 3 minutes to go, the Moose on a zone entry sees passes on the 1st line finally end up in the stick of Maruk, who slaps the puck past Weeks… GOAL … and the arena erupts as the Moose add the insurance goal. Ensuing face-off sees the Moose in possession for a short bit until the Rangers get the puck, pull the goalie and head up ice with 90 seconds to go. And very shortly good passes from McNab … Robinson … Haworth … shot … GOAL, and the Rangers responded to cut the lead to 1 with 65 seconds left in the game. 4-3 Moose.
Faceoff is controlled by the Rangers …. Haworth’s shot is saved … rebound, and passes lead to another Haworth shot, blocked, Moose come up ice, Rangers rub that out, Rangers move back into the zone with 23 seconds left, Kromm shoots, Meloche, save, rebound, Sauve shot, save, rebound, Kromm recovers the puck, tries to find an open teammate, Russell with the puck, and the horn sounds. The Moose survives for the 1-goal win.
|Moose survive another gutty game by the same score, led by a couple of veterans, Kurri with the hat trick, and Gilles Meloche in goal. Off to games 3 and 4 in CapJack.
Gamed 3 and 4 at Madison Oval Garden as the CapJack Rangers host the mighty Mackinac Island Moose. The Moose comes to town up 2 – 0 in the best-of-7 series. The Rangers are desperately trying not to lose their 3rd Cup final (or become are they working toward being the Buffalo Bills of the MWOTHL?). One win prolongs the series, and two evens it up. Both games 1 and 2 were won with 4-3 scores in ever-so-tight games. Entertaining series even if the Moose are the big favorites! Hope the Moose brought some great fudge with them – that will enhance any outcome!
|GAME #3||Well, this series has been punctuated by penalties – and the scoring effects they’ve had. Period 1 starts out no differently. 3:13 McPhee (MIM) and Arniel (CAP) go off for roughing. And then a minute 20 later, Trottier goes off for cross-checking. Well the MIM has a lot of ice space for 40 seconds, but the Rangers hold them off. But shortly after McPhee and Arniel get back on the ice, the Moose set up in the Ranger’s zone. They work it around, back to Zezel at the point and he fires and it sails right past Resch – never saw it. 1-0 Moose on the PP goal. Shortly after that goal, McPhee draws another roughing penalty – this time by himself. And about 30 seconds into the penalty, the CAP power play unit comes through with Trottier snapping one past Beaupre to tie the game. 12:50 left in the 1st. Rangers then give the Moose another golden opportunity when Barr goes off for holding – 20 seconds after tying the score! And sure enough, the MIM power play again strikes paydirt when MacLean fires one up toward the net trying for some magic and it gets through everyone including Resch, 2-1 Moose, 11:40 to go in the 1st. We then have a break in the action as neither team scores for the 7+ minutes or more even though the Rangers give MIM another power play opportunity – finally a penalty kill! So what will happen when the Moose’s Price is called for hooking with 5:38 to go. Well – the Rangers will jump on the chance with Crowder taking a pass in close and firing it past Beaupre to tie the game at 2-2 with 3:48 left in the 1st. Action continues. This fires up the Rangers and they come close to taking the lead 20 seconds later but a big save by Beaupre keeps it tied. But the Rangers keep pressing and after benefitting from a broken stick by Cote on a redirect, the Rangers clear the puck, send out a fresh set of attackers and work it into Moose territory. Taking sights on the big Moose in the net, Boutilier fires a slapper and Wickenheiser moves his stick in front of the puck to redirect it around the big Moose & CapJack has its first lead, 3-2 and it’s the first even-strength goal of the game. 2 minutes to go in the 1st – and that’s how ends, 3-2 Rangers 1st intermission. 14 minutes of penalties in the opening period, 10 SOGs for Mackinac Island, and 11 for CapJack.
Something strange happens in the locker rooms because the teams come out for the 2nd and it’s defense. The game is quiet for the first 14 minutes. Then MacLean (MIM) gets called for hooking. But as the Ranger’s PP gets going, it ends after only 17 seconds when Sauve is called for holding – but it was for a good cause as the Moose were pretty close to getting a SH goal. So – 4 on 4, and nothing, but a minute into Sauve’s penalty, Crowder goes off for roughing. So we have 4 on 3 for 42 seconds! But the Rangers kill it off – defense remains the name of the game in the 2nd. Rangers penalties are now all expired with just over 2 1/2 to go when Marois clears the puck for the Moose and begins a rush up the ice. Zezel dumps it in, and Quinn wins the race to get the puck. MacLean gets it, back to Zezel who fires from a bad angle – but the bad angle was good enough as he scores and the game is tied again, 3-3! 2 minutes left and that’s it for the 2nd, well almost. With 1:08 left, Frycer (MIM) and Bjugstad (CAP) rough it up and both go off for 2 minutes.
So we go to the 3rd period knotted at 3-3. SOGs even at 16 for each team. Hits are mounting up, and shots on goal are dropping. The next goal will be big! Tense action on the ice, and tentative play from these guys as no one wants to make a big mistake. Then Marois makes it when he’s caught hooking 4 minutes into the period. But the Moose PK teams finally stop the Rangers – it’s tough getting anything on the net. Then it happens with just over 9 minutes to go, Dunn (in 1 of his rare appearances) starts up ice, he brings it into the Moose zone, over to McNab, to Barr who rips a rocket past Beaupre and the Rangers have the lead 4-3 with 8:48 to go! Rangers grab that magic score, can it be the final for a 3rd straight game? The Rangers hope so and they really go into a defense mode, working to keep the puck in center ice for better. However, the Moose have a different thought and they really step up the pace. The Rangers plan is working as most of the shots are low percentage at best and Resch is up to the task. But with 5:18 to go, Beck is called for hooking. Oh no, just what we need – a MIM PP in the final minutes of a game where we lead by 1. However, the PP evaporates 16 seconds later when Propp (MIM) is called for hooking and it’s 4 on 4. But try as they might, the Moose couldn’t get one past Resch. Then Crowder makes it easier for the Moose when he goes off for roughing. So it’s 4 on 3 again for 49 seconds. But still, the Rangers hold, and by the time all 3 of those penalties expire it’s still 4-3 Rangers with 2:07 to go! Inside the final 2 minutes, Beaupre leaves the ice with 1:40 to go, and KURRI comes on. 9 seconds later he has a scoring chance but Beck blocks the shot. Moose get it back and Kurri fires another shot – but it’s wide, 1:18 to go, new lines for each team (except for Kuirri). 1:09 he fires another slap shot – Resch saves and hangs on. MacLean wins the FO and passes to Kurris – another shot – another save and Green gets the loose puck and clears it, 1:04 to go. Maruk gains the puck and works it into MacLean who sends it to (who else) Kurris – he fires another slap shot – Resch gets a piece of it – but not enough as it flies into the net: SCORE!!! Tied game with 55 seconds left. CRAP – not again! Teams then skate off the final 55 seconds and it’s off to OT.
1st OT Period and the Rangers get 1st SC in the opening minute but it’s wide and off we go. You can see a difference in the refs in the OT as when Crowder gets tripped and no whistle – let them play! (or as we say win game 2, maybe the refs have a favorite team???) 2 minutes in and the MIM have a big chance when Maruk sets up Kurris – but he shoots it wide. Teams don’t seem tentative as the play goes back and forth with scoring chances on both ends, but the goalies are ratcheting it up! Zezel gets leveled after a Beaupre big save and again no call. After the faceoff, Mackinac Island gains control with Going gaining the zone but McNab is all over him and he steals it and that starts a 3 on 1 rush. They work it well, to Arniel, to Barr, he shoots – SCORE!!!!!!! Rangers win 5-4 in OT For Barr, his 2nd goal of the game, and the series lead is no cut in half, 2-1 in favor of the Moose.
[STARS algorithm could sure use some tweaking – 1 and 2 should be reversed. Not only did CAP win, but Barr’s 2nd goal was the GWG. Oh well, we know who was the #1 star – the FANS, they never stopped cheering, not even after the MIM tying goal!]
|GAME #4||Meloche vs. Weeks in the goals. Sounds familiar, Rangers looking for different results, but the Moose seek to get back to the winning ways and get this series closer to ending.
And well – the 1st period sets the tone. Bothwell (MIM) goes off at 3:47 for 4 minutes – FOUR MINUTES for the Rangers to blow this game up. And 30 seconds into the penalty Sauve mishandles a Trottier pass and McPhee picks it up. Shorthanded they have a 2 on 1 rush going – he passes to Seiling, he dekes, shoots, SCORES!! 1-0 MIM on the shorthanded goal. The Rangers still have the PP, but now they are down 1-0. The PK groups for the Moose are shutting down CapJack and with 1 minute to go in Bothwell’s penalty Trottier is called for holding, the Moose PK group was trying to get another break. The 4-on-4 ends scoreless but then the Moose power play connects with Zezel fires one out front at the Rangers goal and it GOES IN! 2-0 Moose as Zezel scores his 4th goal of the playoffs and 3rd in the last 2 games! 9 minutes into the 1st and the Moose are trying to get this one over quickly. Then 3 minutes later Kurri makes it 3-0 when he fires a wrister past Weeks. It’s not that Weeks was porous as the Moose fired 15 shots on goal during the 1st. They just came out hot and heavy. Then the Rangers get another crack at something when Price is called from cross-checking right after the ensuing faceoff. And the Rangers and Robinson capitalize in less than a minute with a PP goal! With just under 7 to go in the 1st, it’s 3-1 Moose. But no one else can get a score in the 1st and it’s a big 3-1 Moose at the 1st intermission.
2nd period is mostly a scoreless 20 minutes, but it wasn’t for trying. Moose got 11 shots to Weeks, and CapJack fires 13 that Meloche is forced to handle. And the period is actually filled with 3 sets of coincidental minors – no scores. Then Engblom is called for the only penalty amounting to a PP with 4:22 to go in the period. Rangers however can’t crack Meloche and the Moose PK team. And the 2nd period is going down to the end scoreless – until Kurri gets the puck and sends it to Engblom who fires a rocket that beats Weeks trapper side low! Rats – GOAL and the Moose take a big 4-1 lead into the locker room. 20 minutes to go.
3rd period and the Moose really want this one and they go about doing everything they can to keep CapJack off the board. NO OFFENSE – and the toughest thing to deal with is Lacouceur hooking penalty early on that gives CapJack their on PP of the period. Rangers try, but Meloche is having none of it. So much Moose defense (they only fire 1 shot on Weeks the whole period). Rangers get 10 on Meloche, but he stops them all – all of them – and the MOOSE WIN THE GAME 4-1! And that gives them a 3-1 series lead.
STARS (All MIM)
|Rangers head to the Shepler Ferries to get to Mackinac Island to face what they hope is just the 1st of 3 elimination games. They have to conquer the Moose 3 times to win the Cup, but they have to get game 5 first. ONE GAME at a TIME!!!
Having split with the Rangers at their place, the Moose come home leading 3 games to 1 with a chance to close it out today. A Packed house in Bullwinkle Arena hoping for a big party tonight. A very determined Ranger crew looks to be a big bunch of party poopers.
|GAME #5||Right off the opening puck drop, the Rangers with a 3 on 2 rush that Beaupre saves. Then the Rangers win 3 faceoffs in a row in the Moose zone, with the final draw going to Arniel who blasts the puck past Beaupre to put the Rangers up 1-0 only 83 seconds into the contest. After the subsequent center faceoff, the Moose get one short offensive set, only to see the Rangers come back down and once again win repeated faceoffs in the Moose zone. The Moose cycle in different lines in an attempt to win the puck. At one point it’s 8-1 Rangers in faceoffs won. Anyways, finally, Haworth wins one, to Pettersson to Wickenheiser and he sends one into the net, and the Rangers are now up 2-0 only a little over 4 minutes into the game. The CapJack Party Poopers are for real. Moose start to win a few drops, and play finally goes to the normal back and forth. Russell called for hooking 7 minutes in. Moose get a few shots on goal finally and as the penalty winds down into the final 30 seconds, Moose enter the zone, Zezel shoots, rebound, and Marois finds the puck and zips it to MacLean for the one-timer. GOAL … and a collective sigh of relief as the Moose is on the board. Rangers still with the lead 2-1. Defenses on both sides start getting physical and neither team can organize much offensively. The aggressive play culminates in a skirmish between Maruk and Russell (old Moose teammates) to open the ice for 4 on 4 play. No damage, but as Maruk comes back on the ice, he mixes things up with Beck, and we get more 4 on 4. This time a Moose rush with Kurri gets the fans on their feet, but Resch saves it. The subsequent faceoff sees Quinn, Kurri, and Giles with some triangle action, culminating with Quinn deking around Russell into an opening and sneaking one past Resch. The game is now tied at 2 with just under 2 minutes to go. A significantly happier Arena sends the Moose to break with the momentum.
The 2nd opens to a lively crowd and some back and forth. But as Resch makes a save and play stops, the Arena is hushed as Kurri limps off the ice and down the tunnel only 2 minutes into the period, limping badly. Play resumes with the crowd waiting to see who might step it up for the Moose. A little more back-and-forth play, but nobody with a high-quality shot. As the clock passes under 15 minutes, a roar from the crowd as Kurri reappears on the bench and goes on the ice. Faceoff in the Ranger zone with the first line, and Maruk, Propp, and Kurri move the puck around, finally, Maruk with an opening and he cashes in. Moose is now up 3-2. As the clock drops under 11 minutes, the Rangers get a 2 on 1 rush, Sauve and Bjugstad, with Bjugstad taking the shot, but Beaupre the save, and McPhee captures the rebound. Moose move up ice and again the first line moves it between Kurri, Bothwell, and Propp. This time it’s Kurri who finds the open slot and dekes around Russell (bad game for him) to get to Resch and find paydirt … GOAL … and the Moose now with 4 goals in a row, take the lead 4-2, 9 minutes left. Right after the center drop, Maloney gets hit with a minor. The Moose get 4 shots off, 2 are blocked, 2 are saved, and the Rangers come out of the zone. A faceoff in the Moose end leads to a struggle on the dot, with the puck squirting out to Crowder who shoots the puck through a crowd and Beaupre has no chance … GOAL .. and now the lead is down to a nail-biting 1. with 5 minutes left in the 2nd. Shortly after the faceoff, Marois is called for hooking, and the Rangers with a good chance to tie it up. Unfortunately, the PP unit struggles to keep the puck in the zone, as they manage only one wide shot in the 2 minutes, and 2 minutes remain in the period. Neither team manages much offense and the period ends 4-3 Moose.
A much livelier crowd greets the teams for the 3rd. 3 minutes into the 3rd, Donnelly with a minor and the Moose PP unit comes on. After the puck is cleared, the Moose move into the zone and a Giles shot is blocked, only to have Giles recover it and find Kurri open, shot GOAL …….. and the Moose lead back up to 2, 5-3. Minutes later it’s Arniel and McPhee in a skirmish, giving us some 4 on 4. And then right off the faceoff, Quinn nailed for holding, and now it’s 4 on 3. One shot wide, one shot saved, and one shot blocked, and those 2 minutes are gone. 12 minutes to go. And then, just like most teams that blow a PP chance, they move the puck into the zone, and Kromm shoots, Crowder with a deflection into the net …. GOAL, and once again it’s a 1 goal game. 5-4 Moose with 11 minutes to go. A couple of minutes elapse and then Donnelly and Price work out some frustrations. 2 minutes for each, and again we have some 4 on 4. Off the faceoff, the Moose move the puck into the zone, and MacLean wastes no time in shooting a mid-range shot into the net, putting the Moose up 6-4. Just over 8 minutes to go. Resch gets pulled, and Weeks is in goal. Play goes back and forth and the clock bleeds down past 7, 6, 5, and 4 minutes to go. Moose on a zone entry, MacLean to Quinn, Zezel, back to Quinn with a low shot, that beats Weeks glove side high (yeah that confused me too) GOAL, and the Arena erupts with the Moose up 3 and just under 4 minutes to go. The puck moves up and down the ice as the Moose conservatively control play for the final 4 minutes until the final horn sounds, the scoreboard reads Moose 7, Rangers 4, and the traditional celebration, followed by the time-honored handshake line between the two teams. The mutual admiration between tired combatants.
Phil Pritchard rolls the Stanley Cup out. Captain Jari Kurri with the first skate, then hands the puck off to Gilles Meloche, the veteran goalkeeper with a standout performance in game 4, leading to the 3rd win. The puck then goes to Paul MacLean who had 3 goals and 4 assists in the finals. The celebration continued into the night with record beer sales on the island.
|SERIES SUMMARY||Kudos to Bill Schindel and his CapJack Rangers on a great season, defying the oddsmakers and talking heads to take the Patrick Division and the Prince of Wales Trophy.
Jari Kurri with 9 goals and 5 assists, one hat trick, in the Finals.
Thanks to all the MWOTHL members for a good season. Looking forward to another fun season next year.