Thursday, November 08, 2012

CHL Super Series: MacKinnon and Huberdeau dominate in QMJHL victory


As dominant as Nail Yakupov looked during the opening game of the 2012 SUBWAY Super Series for Team Russia on Monday night, the line of Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Huberdeau and Jonathan Drouin looked every bit as dangerous in the QMJHL's convincing 5-2 victory in Wednesday night's re-match.

MacKinnon and Drouin led the charge with four points a piece, while Huberdeau chipped in with a three point effort, including a pair of beauties in the second period. With the loss Russia falls to 1-1 on their trip through the CHL and will now take on Team OHL for a pair, starting on Thursday night.

While the QMJHL stars were behind the eight-ball after falling down 2-0 to the Russian's in opening frame of Game One, it would be a completely different story on this night. Rimouski's Francis Beauvillier wasted little time getting the home crowd into it, snapping a bullet past starter Andrei Vasilevski , all of fifty-nine seconds in.

To the Russian's credit, they would fight back to tie it up, with  a short-handed marker from Andrei Sigarev, thanks to the blazing speed of Mr. Yakupov. After creating a turnover at his own blueline, the Edmonton Oilers prospect found a streaking Sigarev with a lead pass and than proceeded to fly down the ice, at a ridiculous pace, drawing a defender and opening up a lane for his teammate. Sigarev's shot on goal, which was actually more of a pass for his hard charging linemate, changed direction twice before dropping behind a helpless Zachary Fucale.

The game would remain tied until the 3:51 mark of period number two, when the Huberdeau/MacKinnon show took over. The former third overall selection would score his first of two on the night, courtesy of some sloppy play from Team Russia, allowing the dynamic duo to break in on a two-on-nothing break, leaving Vasilevski no chance on the play.

They would stretch their lead further, with a power play marker late in period two. Huberdeau would bang home his second of the period, on a lovely cross-crease pass from MacKinnon and just like that, Team QMJHL were in complete control. While the possible 2013 first overall pick looked absolutely lost playing the wing in the series opener, he rebounded nicely after being placed back in the middle and having Game One scratch Jonathan Drouin, join both he and Huberdeau on the top line.

MacKinnon and Drouin would each score in period three to put this one to bed but the damage was done in the previous forty minutes. After looking almost unstoppable in the opener, Team Russia were missing that next gear in their finale against Team QMJHL but they did not lack opportunity. The were given six power play chances on the night but created next to nothing with the man advantage.

Russia will have little time to right the ship, as Game Three of the 2012 Super Series goes tonight in Guelph, where a rested and ready Team OHL awaits them.

Unlike the opening two games of the series, which were broadcast across the country via Sportsnet, Game Three will be pushed over to Sportsnet One starting at 7:00 pm (ET).

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