Sunday was a great day for 2 New York Ranger prospects as Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) and Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) put up 4 points each to help their respective teams to huge wins. It is just December but we have seen plenty of great games but the last 3 days have been beyond anything we have seen before.
First up Michael St. Croix earned the first star with a 2-2-4 game in helping his Edmonton Oil Kings to a 8-3 win over the Saskatoon Blades. It was supposed to be a match up of two of the top teams in the WHL's Eastern Conference but it turned into a message to the rest of the WHL that the Edmontion Oil Kings are a real contender in the WHL.
The Oil Kings after their big win on Sunday have a 6 game winning streak going and St. Croix has been a big reason why. St. Croix had a 5 point game to help the streak get started and all together during the win streak St Croix is 9-9-18.
Against the Blades, St. Croix got the Oil Kings going when he set up Tyler Maxwell for the game's first goal at 12:01 of the first period. The Blades were able to score the tying goal late in the first period and they had no idea what was going to hit them in the 2nd period.
In the 2nd period, after the Oil Kings had taken a 2-1 lead, it was St. Croix scoring his 15th goal of the season on the power play at 8:54 for a 3-1 lead. The Blades struck back at 11:50 to make it 3-2 but St. Croix struck again only 26 seconds later for his 16th goal and what eventually proved to be the game winning goal.
As St. Croix has been doing as of late scoring in bunches during game, St. Croix made it a 4 point evening 3:51 later when he set up Rhett Rachinski to make it 5-2. St. Croix is now 16-25-41 good for 11th in the WHL but tops among Ranger prospects.
One stat from this game just stands out for us and that is the Oil Kings went 5/3 on their power play. Yes 5 goals on 3 power plays as the Oil Kings cashed in on 2 two man advantages as well as 3 power play goals during a 5 minute major.
We wondered how Christian Thomas was going to follow up his 5 point game on Friday as was it a break out game or just a 1 shot deal? The Peterborough Petes with Andrew Yogan (NYR 2010 3rd) and Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) found out the hard way that Christian Thomas may have gotten on a roll.
Thomas the game's 2nd star had a 4 assist game in which all 4 assists were the primary assists as Thomas's Oshawa Generals smoked the Petes 9-1. The Generals jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 2:40 into the game but that was just the beginning.
Thomas got rolling setting up Andy Andreoff at 11:10 of the first to make it 2-0 and after the Generals had scored scored to make it 3-0; Thomas got assist #2 when he set up Peter Heremenegildo at 17:49 for a 4-0 lead.
36 seconds later at 18:25, Thomas set up Andreoff for another goal and a 5-0 lead ending the first period. Thomas got assist number 4 on the General's 7th goal of the game at 13:06 of the 2nd period. The 4 assists in a game are a new career high for Thomas who is now on a 6 game tear of his own 6-8-14 which has more than doubled his point output.
As for Yogan and Ceresnak, not going to trash either prospect as Yogan did not make it until the end getting 12 minutes in penalties at 9:27 of the 3rd. The Petes as a team lost their composure so singling out anyone makes little sense.
Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) we have to admit for most of the season has not shown us any real reason why the Islanders used a 3rd round pick on. The player we have seen has been one who lacks discipline on the ice taking bad penalties at the wrong time which cost his Guelph Storm.
A first pair defender needs to be on the ice not sitting in the penalty box which is what Pedan has done for most of the season. Against the Saginaw Spirit, Pedan put on a solid performance at both ends of the ice earning 2 assists while being named the game's 2nd star in Guelph's 5-1 win.
After Saginaw had taken a 1-0 lead, it was Pedan who set up the tying goal in the first period then posted a secondary assist on the Storm's 3rd goal. Pedan is now 5-11-16 while on a 3 game 0-5-5 streak.
In Brampton, Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) and Mitchell Theoret (2011 7th) along with their Niagara IceDogs were shut out by the Brampton Battalion 3-0. The IceDogs, Battalion and 2 other teams in the OHL's Central Division are separated by 2 points from 1st to 4th so even this early in the season this was a game the IceDogs might regret losing.
Brendan Kickton (NYI 2011 5th) and his Spokane Chiefs were playing the last game of a 5 game in 6 days swing of the WHL's Eastern Conference taking on the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The bus ride back to Spokane is going to have the Chiefs trying to figure out how they lost 1-0.
The Chiefs dominated this game controlling the pace as well as a decided 38-18 advantage in shots. The Chiefs also had 2 penalty shots that they missed on. The only difference in the game was that Lethbridge scoring a power play goal in the 3rd period.
Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) and his Moose Jaw Warriors had a great chance to move into a tie for first place in the WHL's Eastern Conference. The only thing standing in the way was the worst team in the conference the Prince Albert Raiders so you know what happened.
The Raiders beat the Warriors 3-1 in a penalty filled contest that should cost a couple of people some games off. McIlrath earned 17 minutes in penalties thanks to an instigator penalty we do not believe he deserved but was a reputation penalty.
In the QMJHL, Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) returned to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar lineup after a 1 game absence but the Drakkar lost to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 4-3. Noreau was scoreless with a penalty for boarding to show for his efforts.
Finally thanks to Terry Doyle of LoosePucks.com we were able to confirm that Peter Ceresnak has been named to Team Slovakia's entry for the World Under-20 Championships. The Rangers and Islanders are going to be well represented this season.
(St. Croix - Edmonton Oil Kings, Thomas - Oshawa Generals, Pedan - Terry Wilson of OHL Images)
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