An historic season came to an end Sunday as the Portland Winterhawks fell 6-4 to the Halifax Mooseheads in the final of the MasterCard Memorial Cup at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon.
Despite the loss, it was an unforgettable season for the Winterhawks, who won the WHL Championship two weeks ago and set team records in the regular season in points (117) and wins (57), along with a litany of individual records and milestones.
Halifax opened the scoring 6:31 into the game on a power play goal from Konrad Abeltshauser, then took a 2-0 lead at the 8:00 mark on a goal by Nathan MacKinnon. The Mooseheads' Martin Frk added a goal at the 15:59 mark to make it a 3-0 lead going into the second period.
Portland then came out flying in the second period, outshooting the Mooseheads 18-6. They were rewarded 10:36 into the frame when Ty Rattie fed Nic Petan in front of the Halifax net, who deked around Mooseheads netminder Zachary Fucale to cut it to 3-1 with a shorthanded goal.
Portland kept applying pressure and endured some bad luck when Oliver Bjorkstrand rang one off the crossbar and Rattie had a goal disallowed. But they struck again at the 18:41 mark when Rattie held the puck behind the Halifax net and fed Seth Jones on the doorstep, who went high over Fucale to cut it to 3-2 to make it a one-goal game going into the third.
Halifax regained a two-goal lead when MacKinnon scored his second of the game at the 7:36 mark of the third to make it 4-2, then went ahead 5-2 at the 11:11 mark on Abeltshauser's second.
The Hawks kept pressing, and made it 5-3 when Brendan Leipsic scored at the 14:42 mark. Late in the period with Mac Carruth on the bench for an extra attacker, Rattie notched his second of the game to bring the Hawks within one at 5-4. But MacKinnon scored into the empty net to give Halifax the 6-4 win and the Memorial Cup.