Nathan MacKinnon powers Halifax Mooseheads to Memorial Cup win

Halifax Mooseheads Trey Lewis flies over Portland Winterhawks Chase De Leo during the first period...

Halifax Mooseheads Trey Lewis flies over Portland Winterhawks Chase De Leo during the first period of the Memorial Cup final in Saskatoon on Sunday night. (Reuters)

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:00 AM ET

SASKATOON - Too much, Nathan MacKinnon.

Right now, Halifax can't get enough of their star forward and the Portland Winterhawks will be seeing him in their nightmares for years to come.

The 17-year-old hockey wunderkind scored three times and had five points in leading his hometown Halifax Mooseheads to their first Memorial Cup title with a historic 6-4 win before 11,488 Sunday night at the Credit Union Centre.

The best player on the best team in the junior game took over the biggest stage and delivered a third straight Cup win for the new dominant force – the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The Western league is the last to win three straight. Their third in a row was accomplished by the Swift Current Broncos in this rink 24 years ago.

MacKinnon racked up six goals and nine points in two games against the Western Hockey League champs.

He had two hat tricks against the 'Hawks.

He finished with seven goals and 13 points in four games. Sidney Crosby, who he grew up following while sharing Cole Harbour, N.S., roots, had six goals and 11 points in five games at his Cup in 2005 at London, one he didn't win.

Seth Jones and the 'Hawks had no answer for him all tournament.

Down a goal seven minutes into the third, Portland breathed a collective sigh of relief when hard-shooting Halifax forward Martin Frk ripped a shot off the outside of the goal post.

The feeling was short-lived.

On the same play, MacKinnon grabbed the puck and ripped the hearts out of the 'Hawks, who last won the crown in 1998 at Spokane.

Portland has won it twice in the last 30 years but never on Canadian ice. They pushed late, pulling within one on Ty Rattie's goal with 1:16 left, but couldn't knot it up.

The 'Hawks are known for their back end scoring, but they were done in by it this time.

Big German d-man Konrad Abeltshauser scored twice for the Moose – once to open the game and again in the third.

Halifax head coach Dominique Ducharme stepped on the gas pedal early. He chose to double-shift his top line of MacKinnon, Drouin and Frk.

It worked.

The Mooseheads charged out to a 3-0 lead. They could've had more but Portland overage goalie Mac Carruth made some big saves and Halifax missed a few nets.

Had they found the mark, this could've been blowout city the way the Moose steamrolled the OHL champion London Knights 9-2 last Tuesday.

They had five in the first period in that one. MacKinnon and Drouin had point-blank chances but couldn't convert.

The 'Hawks didn't score until halfway through the game, but it tilted the ice in their favour in a large way.

Nick Petan scored on a nifty shorthanded deke while teammate Oliver Bjorkstrand was in the penalty box. The tiny 'Hawks forward had 46 goals in the regular season, but this was his first in this tournament.

Good timing.

Portland thought it had another quick one, but a Rattie was disallowed for gloving the puck into the net.

No matter.

Seth Jones answered MacKinnon's first-period salvo with a roof job on Halifax goalie Zach Fucale in tight late in the second during four-on-four play.

It was Portland's seventh goal from a defenceman in five Cup games.

This time, it wasn't enough.

MacKinnon is the new king.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/RyanatLFPress

MEMORIAL CUP

Mooseheads 6, Winterhawks 4

Halifax goals: Nathan MacKinnon (3), Konrad Abeltshauser (2), Martin Frk

Portland goals: Nicholas Petan, Seth Jones, Brendan Leipsic, Ty Rattie

The Mooseheads are champions of the 95th Memorial Cup. The 2014 tournament will be held in London next May.


Videos

Photos