Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Death of a Season

The Undertaker (WWE)
It has been a pretty good playoff season with a mostly competitive bunch of games and until Tuesday evening there had not been a really bad elimination for one of the prospects. But sadly for Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) and his Rimouski Oceanic we bring out the Undertaker to bury them after they gave away game 7 of their QMJHL playoff series with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

The Oceanic let a 4-0 first period lead disappear and lost in sudden death overtime 8-7 to see their season come to a disappointing ending. There really is not a whole lot one can say when you give away that kind of lead but that is what the Oceanic did. Their 4-0 first period lead started disappearing really quickly in the 2nd period as the Armada scored twice in the first 2:02 of the period.

The Oceanic would answer to make it a 5-2 lead at 3:49 but the Armada came right back with yet another goal 38 seconds later to make it a 5-3 game. The Armada would add a power play goal before the period ended to only trail by 5-4 setting up a wild finish.

In the 3rd period, the Armada would tie the game up at 5-5 at the 1:59 mark, take their first lead of the game at 6:35 at 6-5. The Oceanic would not go away as they tied the game back up at 6-6 with a goal at 12:20 and then would regain the lead at 7-6 at 16:14. This time it would be the Armada who did not quit as they forced overtime when they scored 44 seconds later at 17:08 and it was off to sudden death overtime.

In the overtime the Armada would score the series winner capping a 2 game comeback and send their team off to the QMJHL semifinals. It is a sad ending for the Oceanic who had a magnificent run down the home stretch winning 16 straight games but they can only blame themselves.

For Loic Leduc it now becomes decision time as the 6'6 defender needs to be signed by the Islanders or take his chances as an overage player next season in the QMJHL. Honestly I don't believe Leduc despite some major strides he has made this season deserves a NHL entry level contract because he needs a lot more work on everything.

But if the Islanders don't sign him there will be someone who will as size is the one area you can't teach.

So what is left of the prospects?


Griffin Reinhart (2012 1st) defense Edmonton Oil Kings
Adam Pelech (2012 3rd) defense Erie Otters


Troy Donnay (2013 UFA) defense Erie Otters
Ryan Graves (2013 4th) defense Val-d'Or Foreurs
Mackenzie Skapski (2013 6th) goalie with a game 7 Wednesday evening in Medicine Hat

Good Effort Bad Result

Mackenzie Skapski (Kootenay Ice)
It has been a very up and down WHL playoff run for Mackenzie Skapski (NYR 2013 6th) of the Kootenay Ice as when he has been lights out "3 stars of the game" good but when he has not been then it has turned into a nightmare for the young goalie. Game 6 of the WHL Eastern Conference semifinals was played in Cranbrook, British Columbia home of the Kootenay Ice and this was a dandy of a game except for the result as Kootenay lost 2-1 and are now facing a game 7 on Wednesday night in Medicine Hat.

Skapski was the game's 3rd star but I would have given him the first as he did a great job keeping his team in a game coming off a 9-2 loss in game 5. Skapski can't be faulted for either goals that the Tigers scored and Ice coach Ryan McGill was not a happy camper on what turned out to be the game winner. That game winner came with just 36 seconds in regulation and to be honest it is really hard to tell if the goal really was in or not. That appears to be the biggest issue in junior hockey as the goal replay system sometimes is not the same system the folks see in the arena.

Skapski had a stellar performance stopping 28 out of 30 shots but boy did he not get any real support form his teammates in this one. Medicine Hat comes in already psyched because of their game 5 win and dominated the first period scoring an even strength goal while holding the Ice to just 5 shots.

The second period showed a little more effort from the Ice but they still couldn't solve Medicine Hat's goalie Marek Langhamer until late in the 3rd period when the Ice finally tied the game. But it was not to be as Medicine Hat gets to send this series back home for a game 7 on Wednesday.

Islander Prospects

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers who are the Islander's AHL team had Ryan Pulock (2013 1st), Kyle Burroughs (2013 7th) and Jesse Graham (2012 6th) playing defense on Monday with Victor Crus Rydberg (2013 5th) playing center. The Sound Tigers are not going to make the AHL playoffs but it was nice to see these 4 getting some AHL action under their belt.

Especially happy to see Graham getting a shot as he is one draft pick that the Islanders need to make a decision as to whether or not to sign. In 5 games Graham has been 1-2-3 -1 for the Sound Tigers.