MacKinnon isn't exactly an under-the-radar type, given that he's expected to be the top pick in next year's NHL Draft. But the Nova Scotia native made a big statement Saturday night, lighting up the Saint John Sea Dogs with three goals and an assist in a stunning 11-2 rout of the two-time defending league champions.
MacKinnon scored twice in the first period (including a shortie) as Halifax built a 7-0 lead through two periods. He completed the hattie shortly after Jonathan Huberdeau got the Sea Dogs on the board in the third. Huberdeau scored both Saint John goals, giving him eight on the season.
The Mooseheads also got a hat trick from Luca Ciampini in a game that Halifax hopes signals a changing of the guard in the Q. Halifax is off to a 6-1 start, and may spend the season jockeying with the Quebec Remparts for the top spot in the league. Six other Mooseheads had at least three points Saturday, including defenceman Konrad Abeltshauser, who picked up four assists.
No. 2 star: Logan Nelson, Victoria Royals (WHL)
Nelson's second goal of the game came at the 19:25 mark of the third period to tie things up against the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, then the 19-year-old Minnesotan notched the only goal of the shootout as the Royals downed the Ams 4-3.
Victoria's off to a surprising 5-2 start, and the Royals had to overcome their own odd mistake to win this one. In the second period, the Royals scored into their own empty net when goalie Jared Rathjen was at the bench for a delayed penalty call. That turned a 1-0 Victoria lead into a 1-1 tie.
Rathjen played well in net for the Royals, stopping 34 of 36 shots (the empty-net own goal doesn't go against his record).
No. 3 star: Alex Galchenuyk, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Looks like the knee is fine.
Galchenyuk, the third-overall selection in this year's NHL Draft, had his first monster game of the young season, scoring twice and adding two assists as the Sting got a much-needed 6-3 win at Sault Ste. Marie.
The last-place Sting came in trailing the West Division-leading Greyhounds by seven points, making this an important tilt for an early-season matchup.
Sarnia saw a 4-1 lead dwindle to 4-3 early in the third period, but Galchenyuk put the game away with a goal at the 10:54 mark.
All four of Galchenyuk's points came on the power play, as Sarnia went 4-for-6 with the man advantage. Reid Boucher had a goal and two helpers for the Sting.
Honourable mention: Myles Bell, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Listed as a defenceman, Bell was used a bit at forward late last season and in the playoffs. He's getting another chance up front this season, and he's making the most of it.
Bell's four point night (a goal and three assists) paced the Rockets to a 7-5 win over Prince George. A 19-year-old from Calgary, Bell has five goals and 11 points in seven games this season, adding some much-needed punch to the Kelowna offence.
With the win, the Rockets handed the surprising Cougars their first regulation loss of the season. Colton Sissons had three assists for the Rockets, and rookie forward Rourke Chartier scored his first two WHL goals.
Honourable mention: Alexandre Lavoie, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
The overager had a four-point night (two goals and two assists) and won 21 of 28 faceoffs in Cape Breton's 5-3 victory at Val-d'Or. Lavoie now has 14 points in eight games this season.
Potent notables: Dmitri Jaskin and Ryan Penny each scored twice in Moncton's 7-4 win over Baie-Comeau ... Josh Currie had two goals and an assist as P.E.I. won 6-1 in Shawinigan ... Michael Nishi made 31 saves for Gatineau and the Olympiques scored two late goals to escape with a 2-1 victory over Blainville-Boisbriand ... Jordan Murray scored 2:11 into overtime to give Drummondville a 2-1 win over Victoriaville ... Mikhail Grigorenko and Jason Houde each had a pair of goals, and Nick Sorenson added three assists as Quebec ran its record to 7-0 with a 7-2 shellacking of Rimouski ... After eight scoreless shootout rounds, Kyle Platzer buried the game-winner for London and goaltender Kevin Bailie stopped a ninth Erie attempt as the Knights escaped with a 4-3 win over the Otters ... Mark Scheifele scored with 39 seconds left in regulation to lift Barrie over Peterborough, 4-3 ... Defenceman Ryan Pulock scored both goals for Brandon as the Wheat Kings edged Red Deer, 2-1 ... Sam Fioretti (1G-2A) provided the offensive spark and goalie Daniel Wapple stopped 32 shots to earn his first WHL win as Moose Jaw took care of Portland, 4-2 ... Regina outshot Swift Current 12-0 in the third period, but couldn't beat goalie Eetu Laurikainen and the Broncos held on for a 2-1 win ... Tim Bozon (1G-2A), JC Lipon (2G-1A) and Colin Smith (3A) had big games as Kamloops cruised by Medicine Hat, 4-1 ... Shea Theodore scored two of Seattle's four power-play goals in a 5-2 victory against Everett ... Mitch Holmberg's WHL-leading eighth goal (in five games) contributed to Spokane's 4-2 win over visiting Lethbridge.