Got to give credit where credit is due in the battle of New York Ranger prospects as while Edmonton was good; I don't think anyone expected them to be good.
I know I had Moose Jaw winning in 7 games and never dreamed that the Oil Kings in their first conference final would play this well.
Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) had a goal as well as an assist to help lead his Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-2 win over Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) and his Moose Jaw Warriors. The win gives Edmonton a commanding 3-0 series lead in the WHL's Eastern Conference Finals.
In game three, it wasn't that Moose Jaw played a bad game just that Edmonton was making the right plays at the right times.Edmonton got on the scoreboard first scoring an even strength goal but Moose Jaw responded, tying the game with a power-play goal and the first period ended tied 1-1.
In the second, it was St. Croix, who found linemate Curtis Lazar with a very nice feed that Moose Jaw goalie Luke Siemens had no chance on. The goal coming at 1:44 was a power-play goal and it gave Edmonton a 2-1 lead that they would not get back.
St. Croix added a goal of his own (his 4th) in the third period after using his speed to break down the Moose Jaw defense. The goal wound up being the game-winner after Moose Jaw cut the lead to 1 on a goal that Dylan McIlrath was credited with the secondary assist.
Moose Jaw just could not get the tying goal as Edmonton earned their 11th straight win in the playoffs and 22nd straight overall, dating back to February 22nd.
Nothing against McIlrath, but he was awarded a second star that really belong to St. Croix or any member of the Edmonton blueline. With a 3-0 series lead, Edmonton will be looking to finish off Moose Jaw on Wednesday night to earn their first trip to the WHL Finals since Edmonton rejoined the WHL in 2007.
St. Croix improves to 4-7-11 while McIlrath is 3-3-6.
In Penticton, the Penticton Vees were looking to take a commanding 3-0 lead of their own but the Brooks Bandits had different plans as they got back into the series with a 4-3 win. The Vees lead the series 2-1 with game four on Wednesday night.
Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) was held scoreless and the biggest difference in this game was that Brooks was able to cash in two power-play goals. Fogarty for some strange reason could not get his shots on goal but for some crazy reason he kept hitting the sides of the net.
Give Brooks credit for this win as they got the Vees to play at their tempo. The other advantage Brooks had was their ability to get under the skins of Penticton taking them totally off their game.
The question now is, can Brooks win three more games on Penticton ice?
We don't think so, but we do think Penticton needed this reality check to help them get back in focus.
(St. Croix- WHL photo)
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