Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beach boy beats the predator

Well okay the title is misleading but given the way New York Ranger trade rumors are these days at least we didn't make Pinocchio's nose grow larger than the Empire State building. A very slow quiet Wednesday night that actually wound up being more entertaining than expected.

In Edmonton, we had "the Beach Boy" Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) leading his Kelowna Rockets up against "the Predator Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) and the Edmonton Oil Kings. Last Wednesday night the two teams played in Kelowna with the Oil Kings winning 6-3.

Kelowna got a measure of revenge defeating Edmonton 6-4 on their ice as the Oil Kings were their own worst enemies in this game. The difference in this game was 2 power-play goals that Kelowna scored off of what has to be called poor judgment penalties.

The first period actually started out looking like it would be a repeat of last Wednesday's game as the Oil Kings swarmed all over the Rockets at both ends of the ice. Edmonton held a 15-6 advantage on shots but it was Kelowna who drew first blood scoring just 2:54 into the game for a 1-0 lead.

Edmonton tied the score with a shorthanded goal and that's how the first period ended. In the second, Kelowna scored three unanswered goals including the two power-play goals we were talking about.

With Kelowna up 2-1, Edmonton took a double minor for roughing and Kelowna made them pay. McColgan set up Carter Rigby at 8:55 to give Kelowna a 3-1 lead.

49 seconds after the goal, Edmonton's Henrik Samuelsson (yes son of Ulfie) showed that he does have a bit of his father in him when he took a 5 minute major for kneeing as well as being ejected. Shane McColgan showed why Ranger fans will love him as despite being 6 inches shorter than Samuelsson, it was McColgan who stood up for his fallen teammate and dropped the gloves with Samuelsson.

Yes it was a mismatch but to us what was important was that McColgan stood up for his teammate who was injured; yes he took a beating but he sent a message about running his teammates. Then McColgan's teammates sent a message of their own by scoring another power-play goal 48 seconds into the penalty to make it a 4-1 game.

Edmonton however did not roll over because they were down 3 goals as they scored 2 quick ones 1:07 apart to cut the Kelowna lead to just 1 goal at 4-3. Michael St. Croix scored the second goal which was his 39th of the season but that was all he scored for the game.

In the 3ird, Kelowna would add to their lead with 2 goals to regain their three-goal lead and while Edmonton scored to make it a two-goal game they never got closer than 2.

McColgan's assist was his 42nd on the season as he is now 15-42-57 but there is a concern because McColgan has not scored any goals in 8 games. Kelowna needs McColgan to put the puck in the net if at any hope of getting out of the first-round of the WHL playoffs.

Kelowna for all intents and purposes is locked into the sixth seed in the WHL's Western Conference as they are 11 points behind 5th place and are 18 points ahead of 7th place. The loss actually could be more damaging for Edmonton then it appears; Edmonton holds a four-point lead over Moose Jaw for the WHL's Eastern Conference lead and now Moose Jaw holds a game in hand on Edmonton.

Guess which two teams will meet next Wednesday in Edmonton with possibly 1st place in the conference on the line? Fun times that is for sure and for Michael St. Croix; his goal in addition to being his Ranger prospect leading 39th was also his 93rd point (also NYR leading) as he is 39-54-93.

St. Croix has a four game scoring streak going (3-3-6) and has points in 8 out of his last 10 games (7-7-14). As for Samuelsson, we believe is going to see another suspension (was suspended earlier for a charging major) as this will be his second "intent to injure" major in just 18 games.

That said we still want the Rangers to find a way to draft him as while he has his father snarl, there's some real skill there and we can see him fitting in perfectly with John Tortorella's system. It also doesn't hurt when you're 6'3 200 pounds.

It looks like the Owen Sound Attack are either back to alternating goalies or it is Scott Stajcer's (NYR 2009 5th) turn to start until he loses. Stajcer got the start against the Sarnia Sting in what is a fight for the 4th seed in the OHL's Western Conference.

Owen Sound came from behind to earn a 4-3 win in overtime as Stajcer stopped 26 out of the 29 shots he faced. The win puts both teams into a tie for the 4th seed in points but because the Sting have a game in hand that they get to hold 4th place.

Owen Sound has to be one of the strangest places to be a goalie for in the OHL as Stajcer was putting up better numbers than Jordan Binnington but was not getting wins. Now Stacjer's game stat wise it is really ugly but he is 2-0-1 in his last three starts go figure.

Overall Stajcer is now 10-7-3-3, 2.78 goals against and a 0.915 save percentage and all those numbers together make Stajcer the 8th best goalie in the OHL.

Clinching a spot in the postseason

With all 3 CHL leagues with 10 or fewer games left in the regular season; we are starting to see playoff berths be clinched. So here is our first list of those getting to play in the postseason.


Shawinigan Cataractes – Kirill Kabanov (Islanders)


Spokane Chiefs – Brendan Kichton (Islanders)

We expect the list to explode over the weekend as several teams need just 1-2 points to earn their invite and right now there are only 2 teams with prospects who might not make it to the playoffs.

The ugly looking titles

Yes we know that the titles look horrible and from a grammar point of view failures. We were asked by our networker who provides us with advertising to go with this current style for the titles.

The explanation given to us was that the articles go through some kind of word filter that helps increase the possibility of an article being picked up for use on the main pages as well as the big boys who pay our advertising revenue.

Seeing how these guys pay almost 10 to 1 more than Google AdSense then we are more than happy to write the titles anyway they want.

(McColgan - Kelowna Rockets, Stajcer- Aaron Bell of OHL Images)

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