Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Staying Hot

The second half of the season for New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects got underway on Tuesday evening with several seeing action.

With the World Under-20 Championships also going on at the same time; several teams are missing key players so this is a key time for some players to step up and show what they have.

Michael St.Croix and his Edmonton Oil Kings find themselves on the road to start their second half with the World Under-20 Championships taking place in their home arena. Tuesday night, the Oil Kings got their second half going with a huge 7-2 win over the Saskatoon Blades.

St. Croix was named the game's first star after a 1-2-3 performance helped the the Oil Kings earn the win. The Blades may have been missing their normal starting goalie Andrei Markov but it is doubtful that even he would've made a difference.

St. Croix got his team going by setting up linemate Tyler Maxwell for the game's first goal as part of a 3 goal first period and the Oil Kings never looked back. In the second, it was St. Croix himself scoring his 19th goal of the season just 1:30 into the period for the Oil King's 4th goal.

St. Croix after the Blades had scored to make the game 4-1; got his third point of the night with a secondary assist on Griffin Reinhart's power play goal which made the score 5-1 and this game was over.

St. Croix improves to 19-36-55 on the season which in addition to leading all Ranger prospects in both goals and points is good for 6th place in the WHL. St. Croix's goal was his eighth power play called season and it was also his 5th insurance goal of the season.

The reason we mention the insurance goal numbers is because when you have a team on the ropes you can either finish them off or give them a chance to get back into the game. St. Croix finishes teams off making life easier for his team and you can't discount blowout wins especially when you're just starting a road trip.

St. Croix and the Oil Kings head down the road to Moose Jaw for a match up against Dylan McIlrath and his Warriors. It will be the battle of WHL Eastern Conference leaders as WHL East Division leaders, Moose Jaw trail Central Division leaders Edmonton by three points in the conference race.

The WHL has a gift for Ranger fans as they will be offering a free webcast of this game starting at 8:00 PM EDT/5:00 PM PDT. Follow this link and use the promo code "whllive" as the WHL is offering free individual games on the web which is good for Wednesday and Thursday games.

In Kelowna, it was the battle of 2011 fifth round draft picks as Islander's prospect Brendan Kichton and his Spokane Chiefs took on Shane McColgan and his Kelowna Rockets. The Chiefs scored the game's first four goals before Kelowna could answer but by then the game was decided with the 4-1 win for the Chiefs.

The difference in this game was special teams as Spokanescored two of their goals on the power play while Kelowna went 0 for five on their power plays. Kichton had a secondary assist while McColgan was held scoreless.

Kichton's assist was his 26th of the season which gives him 33 points, good enough to be second in the WHL scoring among defensemen.

In Red Deer, the Islander's other 2011 fifth round pick John Perssons and his Red Deer Rebels were hosting the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Rebels actually outplayed the Tigers but just could not score on them losing 2-0.

There's really not much to say other than the Rebels if you can't score then you're not going to win. It has to be one of the most frustrating experiences that a player must deal with but the Tigers got a great performance out of their goalie.

Back east in the QMJHL, Kirill Kabanov and his Shawinigan Cataractes played host to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Tuesday night and came away with a 4-2 win. Kabanov earned his 14th assist of the season on his team's 2nd goal of the game, it was a primary assist for the Islander's 2010 third round pick.

Kabanov is now 13 -14 -27 on the season as his Cataractes carried over a winning steak from before the holiday break and made it 6th straight wins,

In Baie-Comeau, Samuel Noreau and his Drakkar hosted the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in a game that the Drakkar spent most of regulation trailing but tide it midway through the third period. The two teams won the going all the way to the shootout before the Drakkar eventually lost 3-2.

Noreau was scoreless but did pick up his 6 fighting major of the season which leads New York Ranger prospects.

At the World Under-20 championships, New York Ranger's 2011 6th round pick Peter Ceresnak and Team Slovakia got their tournament going with a 3-1 win over Latvia. Ceresnak is playing in his 2nd World Under-20 tournament representing Slovakia and while he was scoreless in the game was a +1 the second pair defensemen.

Slovakia does not get much time to enjoy the one as they face Russia on Wednesday. If Slovakia has any hopes of advancing into the medal round, they will need to find a way to get points from this game.

So fresh off their 11-3 loss to Team USA on Monday, Denmark was shut out 7-0 by the Czech Republic. That makes two losses by a combined score of 18-3 and Denmark gets a day off so they can face Canada on Thursday.

This is why we have issues with this format; please Denmark has a better chance hitting the 50/50 raffle then they do beating the Canadians.We have no problem with Canada following the current rules but hope that at some point Canadian sportsmanship will show up.

"In order for their hockey program to grow, Denmark needs to go through these "growing pains." That is the justification being used to explain away lopsided scores like these.

With no disrespect at all to the players from Denmark who are doing the best they can, Canada could field a team made up of Jr. B level players and still win with little trouble.

As for us, given a choice of watching Canada take on the Czech Republic or watching Edmonton play Moose Jaw; we will set up the DVR,

We think the match up between the Predator and the Truck will be more entertaining.

(St. Croix - Edmonton Oil Kings) 

1 comment:

Kalel9 said...

Hope you're feeling better, Jess!