Friday, September 21, 2012

The return of the Predator

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Opening night for some of the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects turned out to be a mixed evening. For a couple of teams there were banners to raise to the rafters celebrating last season's success.

First in Edmonton with Mark Messier dropping the ceremonial first puck, Ranger prospect Michael St. Croix (2011 4th) needed all of 61 seconds to get on the scoreboard.

The prospect that I tagged with the nickname "The Predator" scored on his first shot of the season to give his Edmonton Oil Kings a 1-0 lead as the defending WHL Champions jumped out to a 3-1 first period lead and held off the Kootenay Ice 5-3.

St. Croix then teamed with Islander prospect Griffin Reinhart (2012 1st) on Henrik Samuelsson's power play goal in the 2nd period which wound up being the game winning goal. The goal at 12:14 of the second period gave Edmonton a 4-2 lead as the Oil Kings look to become the 1st WHL team to repeat as as WHL Champions in 17 years.

St. Croix finished 1-1-2, Reinhart 0-1-1 with a roughing minor at the end of the game. It wasn't a perfect game but it was a win to start the season off with. Oil Kings are off until Sunday.

In Niagara, the IceDogs raised the 2012 OHL 2012 Central Division and Eastern Conference Championship banners before taking on the Erie Otters. It was a game which featured 3 New York Islander prospects as forwards Ryan Strome (2011 1st) and Mitchell Theoret (2011 7th) played for the IceDogs and defenseman Adam Pelech (2012 3th) for the Erie Otters.

Ryan Strome set up the first goal for the IceDogs but Erie put up a fight before Niagara came away with a 4-2. Strome had a primary assist for his first point of the season while Theoret was scoreless and a +1.

Pelech is a 6'2 210 defenseman who wears "A" for the Otters. He has the makings of a solid shutdown defender but he needs to polish his game up some.

Liked his decision making process, didn't let the IceDogs set up in the crease, uses his body quite well. Needs to work on offensive game at the very least to keep other teams honest.

In Peterborough, Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) had an ugly home opener losing 5-2 to the Oshawa Generals and going to let the video tell most of the story.

5 unanswered goals helped in part by some poor decision making by the Petes and it cost them. First goal was because a Pete's player took a tripping call then yapped his way into making it a double minor.

If you watched the goals there were simply too many Pete defenders standing around letting the Generals skate unopposed to the net. Ceresnak was a -1 but there needs to be more out of him if he wants to remain a top pair defender.

Got a report from Sweden as two Ranger prospects went head to head kind of. Jesper Fast (2010 6th) and his HV71 visited Oscar Lindberg (trade) and his Skelleftea team. Neither player figured in the scoring as HV71 earned a 1-0 win to remain undefeated after 3 games while Skelleftea dropped to 1-2.

Both players played about the same amount of time (16-17 minutes)and were close stats wise. The other 2 Ranger prospects in Sweden appear to have been sent to their team's Under-20 team and I will be looking to confirm that.

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