Just when you think you've seen everything involving the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects then something comes along that just leaves you going "Huh?" Wednesday was one of those nights where things were wacky as well as wild but one thing for sure, it sure was entertaining.
Guess we have to start with no pun intended an epic meltdown by the Kootenay Ice in the 3rd period of their game against Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) and his Edmonton Oil Kings. It was game 3 of their series and going into the 3rd period the Ice were leading 3-1 and really looked like they were going to win the game.
But as we discovered the Ice have trouble holding on to leads and for the 6th time in March, the Ice lost a game that they started the 3rd period with a lead. This one was huge as the Oil Kings scored 5 unanswered goals to come back and win 6-3.
The win gives the Oil Kings a 3-0 series lead and a chance to sweep the defending WHL Champions with a win Thursday evening. Michael St. Croix had 2 assists on the evening, a secondary on the Oil King's 1st goal and the primary on the Oil King's 5th goal of the game.
The second assist was huge as it came just 17 seconds after the Oil Kings had scored to take their first lead of the game. It might also be the goal that takes any hope that Kootenay had of coming back in the series away.
21 seconds after Edmonton had scored that 5th goal; Kootenay center Max Reinhart lost his composure after being called for "roughing" and made an obscene gesture towards the referee (read that as giving the ref "the finger"). Reinhart is one of Kootenay's best players but such a blatant and open abuse of official; we expect that WHL will suspend him for at least 1 game.
Michael St. Croix improves to 2-3-5 on his 2nd multipoint game of the series.
In Regina, Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) and his Moose Jaw Warriors were rescued from defeat by a 15-year-old rookie named Brayden Point who's goal at 6:14 of the second overtime gave Moose Jaw a 5-4 win and a 3-1 lead in the series.
It is almost poetic that on a team (Moose Jaw) that is known for their size has had a 5'8 160 lb rookie scoring game-winning goals in back-to-back games. Point got our attention because you don't normally see 15-year-olds out there playing in the second overtime with the best players on the team.
McIlrath we hope is playing big brother for Point as McIrath was beaten on a couple of plays this evening. Regina is a smaller team but they are extremely fast and made life for McIlrath pretty rough.
McIlrath and Moose Jaw will be looking to finish off Regina at home on Friday night in game five.
Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) and his Penticton Vees lost on their home ice in regulation for the first time in 34 games after dropping game 2 of their BCHL Interior Conference Finals to the Merritt Centennials 4-3. The loss ties the series at one game apiece but gives Merritt the home ice advantage.
Fogarty scored his 2nd goal of the playoffs (2-2-4) while earning the game's 3rd star in a losing effort. The Vees are discovering the hard way that the playoffs are a much tougher animal then the regular season is.
The winning streak is looking more and more like it has done more harm than good for Penticton. They won so much that they never had to address adversity during the regular season and it is showing in the playoffs.
The series now shifts to Merritt for games 3 and 4 for games on Friday and Saturday evening.
In the OHL, it's looking like Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) of the Oshawa Generals and Scott Stajcer (NYR 2009 5th) of the Owen Sound Attack are not in any rush to join the CT Whale in the AHL. Both players were part of the reason why their teams were able to win on Wednesday evening.
In Oshawa, Daniel Altshuller stopped 44 out of the 47 shots he faced to help his Oshawa Generals earn a 5-3 win in game four of their series with the Niagara IceDogs. The win tied the series up at 2 games each as Niagara despite a 47-23 advantage on shots looked very ordinary and nothing like the team that dominated the first two games of the series.
Christian Thomas had a goal (his 2nd) in the first period which helped give Oshawa a 2-0 lead but Niagara battled back to tie the game setting the stage for a 3 goal third period that gave Oshawa the win and turn the series into a best-of-three.
For the IceDogs, Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) made his first appearance of the 2012 playoffs after missing the first three games due to an "upper body injury." Theoret had a secondary assist on Niagara's 2nd goal of the game which at the time tied the score.
Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) might be wanting to compare notes with Christian Thomas about what it's like being heavily checked as Thomas is been. After scoring five points over the first three games in this serious, Strome was held scoreless, -2 and a hooking penalty to show for his evening.
The two teams are off until Saturday for game five to be played in Niagara and it's going to be interesting as the heavily favored IceDogs find themselves fighting for their playoff lives against the Generals. It's real simple as whatever team can get their star player untracked will most likely win the series.
In Owen Sound in what maybe his final home appearance as a member of the Owen Sound Attack; Scott Stajcer stopped 36 out of 41 shots he faced as the Attack avoided being swept in four games with a 6-5 overtime win over the Kitchener Rangers.
It wasn't the prettiest of games but nothing that Owen Sound does is really pretty as the most penalized team in the OHL is their own worst enemy. Stajcer hopefully gets the start in game five which will be Friday night in Kitchener.
In the QMJHL, Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar made it a four game sweep eliminating the Victoriaville Tigre after defeating them in overtime 5-4. The 13th seeded Drakkar right now for the only one of the bottom eight teams in the Québec playoffs to advance.
Noreau was the starting defensemen for the Drakkar going scoreless was a +1 and was credited with a hit. The Drakkar's reward for pulling off the upset is a second round matchup against the defending Memorial cup champions, the Saint John Sea Dogs who defeated Cape Breton in four games by a combined score of 34-8.
Considering all that happened to the Drakkar advancing to the second round alone is a victory for the franchise.
Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) and his Shawinigan Cataractes also finished off a sweep after defeating the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 6-2. Kabanov had a rather quiet evening going scoreless on four shots and a +1.
The second-seeded Cataractes unlike the Drakkar do not know yet who they will be facing in the second round but the most likely opponent would be the eighth-seeded Chicoutimi Saguenéens given how they would be the the next lowest seed still in the playoffs.
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