MacKinnon Named POTG in Super Series Game 1
It was not a great performance for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League All-Stars, but one of its emerging stars made a strong impression on the National scene.
The Q outshot the Russian Select squad 42-12, but Sergey Kostenko managed to turn away them all including the handful of bona fide scoring chances.
A quick strike off a faceoff and some soft hands from Kirill Rasskazov put the Russian up 1-0 in the first. Bogdan Potekhin capped off the scoring for the evening by putting them up 2-0 with his second period goal.
The QMJHL looked like what they are: a team of talented players, that lacked the organization/system to generate quality scoring chances consistently. Contrast that with a Russian team that has likely been prepparing for this for sometime and the result is not all that shocking.
Many of the Q bright spots came from quality individual efforts. The player that most consistently sparked such instances was none other than 16-year-old Nathan MacKinnon. The Halifax Moosehead’s rookie began the night on the fourth line with Charles Hudon and Brandon Hynes, but it wasn’t long before he made a mark on the game.
On his first shift, MacKinnon was able to use his size and speed to get behind the Russian defence for a partial breakaway. He was unable to get a clear shot off as the Russian defender held him up from behind and gave Quebec their first powerplay.
Despite being one of, if not the, most dangerous player for Team Q, MacKinnon did not see any powerplay time himself until the dying seconds of the second period. Late in the frame with Russia down a man, MacKinnon was given some PP time and helped generate a couple decent scoring chances before the period ended.
The rookie found himself with a greater role in the third period. He started the period and was out frequently with those designated for the top lines much more frequently. Despite having a few more offense opportunities, they were unable to break the Russian goose egg.
It will be interesting to see what type of role Nathan MacKinnon is asked to fill as this series shifts to Quebec City for game two on Wednesday. Clearly the coaching staff recognized his contribution during game one, and will hope to see that trend continue.