Sunday, October 7, 2012

Making points

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
With 10 games featuring New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects on the Saturday schedule, there was a nice mix of games to entertain hockey fans. There were a few games where teams sent messages even this early in the season.

It was Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th), Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) and their defending WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings kicking Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) and his Saskatoon Blades while the Blades are struggling. St. Croix (1st star) and Reinhart (2nd star) combined to hand the Blades their 3rd straight loss 4-1.

It was St. Croix on offense and Reinhart on defense that dominated the Blades. St. Croix's 4th goal of the season, a power play goal at 6:21 of the 2nd period gave the Oil Kings a 2-0 lead and proved to be the game winner.

St. Croix also had a secondary assist on the Oil King's 3rd goal also on the power play as St. Croix improved to 4-4-8 on the season. Reinhart on defense led a penalty kill that made up for Edmonton's undisciplined play holding the Blades to just 1 power play goal on 9 chances.

For the Blades the problems seem to change with each passing game. Yes they finally got a power play goal but by the time they did, the game was for all purposes over at 4-0. It was on their 7th power play and McColgan earned a secondary assist for his 4th point of the season.

But the Saskatoon Blades the team that is going to host to 2013 Memorial Cup is creating more new questions for themselves than finding answers.

The most entertaining game of the night took place between the London Knight and Adam Pelech's (NYI 2012 3rd) Erie Otters. The Knights are viewed as one of the top contenders for the OHL championship while the Otters are trying to rebuild their franchise.

This one was a dandy as the young Otters rallied from down 1-3 to first force overtime and then a 9 round shootout before London escaped with a 4-3 win. Call this a win for the Otters as well as they gave their home crowd a performance that offered real hope of better days ahead.

Pelech had a secondary assist on Erie's 2nd goal for his 6th point of the season. Erie last season only managed 10 wins for 26 points and already in 7 games have 6 points.

It might not seem like much today but down the road it will pay big dividends as this team gains experience.

I have never been a fan of these 3 road games in 2.5- 4 day schedules as it is an almost guarantee that by the 3rd game; the team is exhausted. That was the case for the Niagara IceDogs on Saturday as they took on the Plymouth Whalers.

The Whalers behind a 4 goal second period defeated the IceDogs 6-3. Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) can say he played well with a goal (his 5th) and his assist (also his 5th) to extend his scoring streak to 7 games while earning the game's 2nd star.

Teammate defenseman Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) was a -3 while Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) missed the game for undisclosed reasons.

Defenseman Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) had a really bad night of his own taking two penalties that led to 2 power play goals as his Peterborough Petes dropped their 4th straight game 4-3 to the Barrie Colts.

Not much to say as the Peterborough Petes are a mess with no end to their troubles. Either players are going to be moved or someone will pay with his job.

I get on the Guelph Storm's Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) for taking so many penalties over the last 2 seasons. Maybe Pedan plays better when he is the "loose cannon" on the ice as he had a really quiet evening as the Guelph Storm lost in the shootout 4-3.

What is strange is that Pedan has not taken penalties in 2 of the 6 games he has played in; both were against Owen Sound and both times the Storm lost. Maybe next time Pedan should take a call or two next time the teams meet.

Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) scored for the 4th straight game as his Spokane Chiefs behind a 3 goal first period defeated the Lethbridge Hurricanes 4-2. Kichton had a secondary assist on the Chief's 3rd goal for his 4th assist and 6th point of the night.

Kichton and the Chiefs are off to a 4-1 start good for first place in the WHL's US Division.

Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) scored his 2nd goal of the season but his Baie-Comeau Drakkar were beaten at home 7-4 by the Moncton Wildcats. Noreau's goal was a power play goal but by the time he scored it the outcome of the game had already been decided.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) had a quiet evening but his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles won their 2nd straight game a 5-3 win over the Val-d'Or Foreurs. Leduc and company won their first game of the season on Friday.

In college exhibition games, Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) made his debut for the top ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers. Skjei may not have scored but he sent a message that he won't back down from anyone taking a roughing minor.

The game was not much to talk about as Minnesota whipped the University of Lethbridge 7-0. Skjei was listed as an extra defenseman which is understandable as the freshman is trying to crack the lineup.

Islander pick Jake Bischoff (2012 7th) was a healthy scratch which should not be made much of.

Scott Mayfield and his 8th ranked Denver Pioneers played to 2-2 tie with the University of British Columbia. Mayfield didn't score but he took 2 shots in the game.

Both schools will be starting their regular seasons next week.

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