Thursday, October 11, 2012

Heading in opposite directions

Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings)
The middle of the week brought out the prospects of the New York Rangers and New York Islanders playing on teams going in opposite directions. Sure it is early in the season but teams stumble out of the gate either push the panic button by either firing people or trading players.

The Edmonton Oil Kings aren't playing perfect hockey but the defending WHL Champions are finding ways to win like they did against the Medicine Hat Tigers 4-2.  Despite being out shot 36-21, the Oil Kings jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held on for a 4-2 win.

Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st)  is a huge reason why the Oil Kings are in first place of the WHL's Central Division rather than at the bottom of the standings. Reinhart the captain of the Oil Kings is also the glue that keeps the Oil King's penalty kill as good as it has been. 

Against the Tigers, the Oil Kings held them to 1 for 7 and that was a big part of why they won. The Oil Kings entered the game with the 2nd best penalty kill in the WHL allowing just 4 power play goals on 40 attempts.

Reinhart is just 18 but he plays defense like he is already in the NHL; the 2nd generation hockey player plays the defensive game like he is playing chess. His hockey IQ combined with his ability to play a physical game makes him a star in the making.

Reinhart also chipped in with his 1st goal of the season (1-3-4) a power play goal which put the Oil Kings up 4-0. Ranger prospect Micheal St. Croix (2011 4th) had a secondary assist for his 11th point of the season (5-6-11).

A possible future partner for Reinhart on the Islanders is Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) of the Spokane Chiefs.  Last season's leading scorer among WHL defensemen, Kichton added 2 more assists to help his Spokane Chiefs win their 4th game in 5 tries with a 6-4 win over the Kelowna Rockets.

Kichton had a secondary assist on the Chief's 1st goal and then a primary assist on the Chief's second goal (a shorthanded one) to help Spokane to a 2-0 lead. Kichton is 3rd in the WHL among the WHL defensemen in scoring at 2-7-9 in just 6 games.

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) got into his first fight of the 2012-2013 season but that didn't help his Saskatoon Blades from dropping their 4th straight game 4-0 to the Portland Winterhawks. McColgan was brought to the Blades to score and 4 assists in 7 games with a -7 is not going to earn him any kind of contract from the Rangers.

The Blades are 2-6 and this is not the kind of start that the 2013 Memorial Cup hosts were looking for. Last place in the WHL's East division is not going to convince fans to buy tickets either.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles drop their 2nd straight game to the  Val-d'Or Foreurs 7-2. This one was close for the 1st period as the Foreurs jumped out to a 3-0 lead only to see the Screaming Eagles rally for 2 to finish the period.

That was the end of the highlights for the Screaming Eagles as the Foreurs scored 4 unanswered goals to win the game. Leduc was scoreless on 1 shot and 1 hit but a -2.

Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar thanks to a goal with just 56 seconds remaining in regulation escaped the Victoriaville Tigre 4-3. Noreau was scoreless but a +1 and had 1 hit.

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