Monday, April 23, 2012

May I have butt kicking for $200 please?

Sunday was a pretty bad day for New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects with the exception of Michael St. Croix and his Edmonton Oil Kings. If you want to call them "statement" games on Sunday then it would be really hard to argue with you over it.

In Edmonton, even those who picked the Edmonton Oil Kings to defeat the Moose Jaw Warriors could not have thought it would've been this easy. In game two of the WHL's Eastern Conference Finals, Edmonton was struggling during the first half of the game and really did not look all that good but still came away with a 6-1 win and a 2-0 series lead heading to Moose Jaw.

Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) and his Moose Jaw Warrior threw everything they could at Oil Kings goalie Laurent Brossoit firing 49 shots on goal but could only get 1 passed Brossolt. Moose Jaw for most of the first two periods was actually in control of this game with the exception of the scoreboard and Brossolt. In the second period alone, the Warriors out shot the Oil Kings 24-11 but could only manage a single goal while the Oil Kings despite being outplayed were still leading at the time 2-0.

Even more frustrating for Moose Jaw had to be that almost as soon is they had scored then Edmonton came right back and scored again themselves. Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) set up Martin Gernat for a power-play goal at 14:35 of the second giving Edmonton a 3-1 lead (watch the highlights as St. Croix made a sweet pass).

After Edmonton scored their third goal, you could see the frustration in Moose Jaw starting to boil over but at the same time one has to admire the killer instinct that Edmonton has. Here are the highlights courtesy of Rogers Sportsnet

It is a lesson the Rangers could very well use as once Edmonton has a team on the ropes they go for the kill. On Sunday it was three more goals in the third period not giving Moose Jaw any hope of coming back.

Edmonton has now won 10 straight playoff games as well as 21 straight overall, dating back to the regular season. Now the scene shifts to Moose Jaw where the Warriors have played quite well. The most important thing that Moose Jaw has to do is remain focused and stop giving Edmonton power plays.

What's really scary is that Edmonton has been winning quite convincingly while not getting much of a contribution out of Michael St. Croix. St. Croix is just 3-6-9 in the 10 playoff games but really has not been much of a factor.

Dylan McIlrath for the second game in a row wound up taking a 10 minute unsportsmanlike conduct misconduct. In two games, McIlrath has tripled the number of his PIMs during the playoffs and he's got to stop because he needs to be a team leader and you can't lead from the locker room.

The series resumes in Moose Jaw on Tuesday night with game three.

In the OHL, the Niagara IceDogs found themselves getting bit by the Ottawa 67's as they dropped game 2 to the 67's by a score of 7-4. Give the credit to the 67's as they jumped out to a 4-0 in the first period, scoring four times in just 6:39. The highlights are right here courtesy of TvCogecoOntario

Niagara was able to get back 1 before the end of the first period to make it 4-1. Niagara came out flying in the 2nd period by scoring 2 power play goals 1:49 apart to pull within 1 but Ottawa got those goals right back grabbing a 6-3 lead after 2 periods.

In the 3rd period the teams traded goals to get the final score but the series is now tied 1-1 and for moment, Ottawa has stolen home ice from the IceDogs.

The Islander duo of Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) and Mitchell Theoret each had a pair of secondary assists in the loss.

The biggest difference in Game 2 was that Ottawa cashed in 3 of 5 power plays while Niagara was 2 of 6. The IceDogs are normally better on their penalty kill so it will bean area to watch closely. Game 3 will be Monday night in Ottawa.

(St. Croix- Edmonton Oil Kings)

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