Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A hockey addicts dream night

Michael St. Croix (Andy Devlin)
The WHL wrapped up their first half schedule with 3 games involving New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects. Even better was that 2 of those games were battles involving teams that were 1-2 in either their conference or division.

Micheal St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) and his Edmonton Oil Kings were facing a Calgary Hitmen team that for most of the first half had owned them (going 4-1 against them) with the WHL's Eastern Conference lead up for grabs.

St. Croix was coming off a 4 goal on Sunday but Calgary was able to keep him off the scoresheet but they could not stop Henrik Samuelsson (Son of Ulfie) who had 2 shorthanded goals as Edmonton won the final "Battle of Alberta." Calgary may have won the season series 4-2 but at the holiday break it is Edmonton sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 1 point lead.

St Croix leads New York Ranger prospects in scoring with a 19-25-44 record but he is 8 points off his pace from last year.

In Spokane, the Portland Winterhawks came to town with the best record in the WHL, the most goals scored and the fewest allowed. The Spokane Chief trailed Portland by 10 points in the standings but that was not meant to be.

Portland despite missing 4 key regulars still found a way to shut down the Spokane offense (limiting them to just 16 shots) and come away with a 3-2 win. Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) was closely defended all night long and give Portland credit for they gave up their bodies to stop Kichton.

In face the game came down to the 2 captains Kichton of the Chiefs taking on Troy Rutkowski and Rutowski not once but twice in the last minute of the gave blocking Kichton shots.

It was an impressive sight to see as the final buzzer sound with Rutkowski laying on the ice having blocking those shots. Kichton didn't score not because he wasn't trying.

Up in Swift Current, Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) was the only prospect to register a point. McColgan had a primary assist on what turned out to be Saskatoon's only goal as the Blades dropped a 3-1 decision to the Swift Current Broncs.

The loss snapped Saskatoon's 6 game winning streak but considering where they were a month ago then being in 5th place is OK with them. McColgan is 9-26-35 and on a 4 game streak (1-6-7).

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