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Halifax Mooseheads’ Nathan MacKinnon comes through in must-win game to lead Friday’s 3 Stars

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

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Halifax Mooseheads centre Nathan MacKinnon (The Canadian Press)

No. 1 star: Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

The Cole Harbour comet delivered the game-winning goal in the third period to help the Mooseheads beat the Quebec Remparts 3-2, extending their series to a Game 6 on Monday. MacKinnon (1G-1A, seven shots on goal, 11-of-21 on faceoffs) got the deciding goal on a solo effort in the third period, thrilling a crowd of 9,664 in the Nova Scotia capital. MacKinnon also had the secondary assist on an earlier go-ahead goal by defenceman Trey Lewis off a beautiful three-way passing play with Jonathan Drouin as the middleman.

From Matthew Wuest:

MacKinnon showcased his game-breaking speed as he crossed the blue line on a one-on-two, creating his own space before putting a low shot against the grain under the stick of goaltender Louis Domingue at 8:02.

"Wow," was the post-game reaction of Mooseheads goaltender Zach Fucale, who picked up an assist on the play. "He came through for us and we owe him a big thanks for that one."

... I think we outplayed them for the majority of the game and we'll take the win," MacKinnon said.

MacKinnon's tally — his 10th of the playoffs in just nine games, two away from matching the franchise record — put his young team in the driver's seat and brought the crowd to its feet. (Metro Halifax)

Only three teams in Quebec league history have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. To do so, the Mooseheads would have win back-to-back games in Quebec City, beginning Monday with Game 6.

No. 2 star: Vladislav Namestnikov, London Knights (OHL)

The Knights centre scored 4:58  into overtime, lifting London to a 2-1 win over the Saginaw Spirit and a 3-2 lead in their OHL Western Conference semifinal. As a Tampa Bay Lightning first-round pick, Namestnikov is expected to shoulder a heavy loud on a still relatively young London team. The 19-year-old centre came out of the corner and drove hard to the net to beat Saginaw goalie Jake Paterson, who was fabulous with 46 saves. Namestnikov also set up the opening Knights goal, firing  shot that Seth Griffith redirected into the goal.

No. 3 star: Petr Mrazek, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

The Mrazician will have at least one more performance as a junior after stopping 31-of-32 shots to help Ottawa stay alive with a 2-1 win over the Barrie Colts, whose series lead was cut to 3-2. The Detroit Red Wings prospect — who doesn't have the option of extending his season in the AHL since the Grand Rapid Griffins missed the playoffs — was sharp for the most part. Barrie's lone goal did come on a wrist shot from well out, but Mrazek also stopped Barrie's Erik Bradford on a breakaway, turned aside Josh MacDonald from in close in the third period and frustrated star centre Mark Scheifele on more than one occasion. The 20-year-old Czech also faced down a 5-on-3 power play in the second period shortly before Ottawa went ahead for good.

Honourable mention: Colin Valcourt, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

Valcourt (1G-1A) scored the first Chiefs goal and assisted on Dominik Uher's winner in the 3-2 overtime win that knotted his team's series with the Tri-City Americans. On the game-winner, the 19-year-old Valcourt broke up a play in the neutral zone and carried into the Americans zone before setting up Uher for the decider.

Both Chiefs wins in the series have come in overtime. Both of Tri-City's wins were by one goal. Spokane goalie Eric Williams was also superb, stopping 33-of-35 shots.

Honourable mention: Morgan Ellis, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)

The Montreal Canadiens prospect was the game's first star as Shawingan busted out with a 7-3 Game 5 win over the Chicoutimi Saguenéens in their QMJHL quarter-final. Ellis was credited with two assists and was plus-4.

Potent notables — Ottawa's Tyler Toffoli got his ninth goal in 11 playoff games to tie for the OHL playoff lead ... Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's Etienne Marcoux stopped 30-of-32 shots to help his team beat Rimouski 3-2 to take a 3-2 series lead.

(Game recaps available on the news page.)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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