Monday, December 17, 2012

A visit from Santa Croix

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
It is holiday break time for most of the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects and before he left for his break jolly old Santa Croix left a nice present for the fans of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th)
of the Edmonton Oil Kings has (for the most part) had a kind of quiet first half of his season. By quiet I mean that he had not had one of those dominant performances that we got used to seeing last year.

That is until Sunday as it was the last Oil King home game before their holiday break and St Croix put on one heck of a show with 4 power play goals to lead Edmonton to a 8-1 win over the Regina Pats. This is one where you really should go take a peek at the video and see the kind of day St. Croix had.

Goal number 1 was a one timer of a snap shot that Regina goalie Matt Hewitt never had a chance on. It was St. Croix's 16th goal of the season and it gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 7:20 of the 2nd period.

Number 2 was a pinball shot that St. Croix fired from the left side of the net and it bounced around 3 Regina players before finding it's way into the net. This was St. Croix's 17th goal coming just 45 seconds into the 3rd period to give the Oil Kings a 3-0 lead.

Goal number 3 was lighting shot from inside the right face off circle and hit the top of the crossbar. It wasn't until the play was reviewed that St. Croix was awarded the goal and that one came at 7:35 giving Edmonton a 4-1 lead on St. Croix's 18th goal.

Goal number 4 was a blast from the same spot but this time St. Croix used a screen and beat Hewitt low and to his left. The goal at 11:10 made it 6-1 and number 19 for St. Croix.

St. Croix was the game's 1st star for his efforts as he improves to 19-25-44 on the season with 13 power play goals to his credit. After going 8 games without a goal, St. Croix has 5 in his last 2 games and is 12th overall in the WHL for scoring.

The Oil Kings will play Calgary in Calgary on Tuesday before going on the holiday break.

In Brampton, Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) and Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) led their Niagara IceDogs against the Brampton Battalion. It was a close game for 20 minutes but from the 2nd period on, it was all Brampton who scored 6 times in the 2nd and 3rd period to earn a 7-1 win.

Theoret had the IceDogs only goal which came at even strength in the first period but that was all the IceDogs could manage. It was Theoret's 17th goal of the season and extended Theoret's scoring streak to 8 games (6-7-13).

Graham was scoreless and took a tripping minor that ended Niagara's only power play of the game. The IceDogs head into their holiday break with a 20-13-1-1 record which is good for 4th place in the OHL's Eastern Conference.

The IceDogs are off until December 28th when they will take on the Sudbury Wolves.

In the QMJHL, Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles haven't had a good 1st half of a season but on Sunday they gave their fans entertainment and anxiety in the same game against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. A 3-1 lead after the 1st period became a 4-2 lead after 2 but in the 3rd; the Eagles added 2 more to make it 6-2 and then the Titan scored 3 times to pull within 1 at 6-5 before an empty net goal saved the win for the Eagles 7-5.

Leduc finishes his 1st half with just 2 assists on the season as the Eagles will be off until the 21st. come back play 1 game then off again until the 28th.

Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 1st) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar dropped a 3-2 decision to the Drummondville Voltigeurs. The Drakkar can only blame themselves as they failed to score on any of the 8 power play chances they had.

Noreau was quiet again scoreless for the 11th time in his last 12 games as a promising start has fizzled to a halt. The Drakkar with the loss dropped to 6th place in the QMJHL standings.

Like the Eagles, the Drakkar are off until the 21st where they will play 1 game and then off again until the 28th.

World Under-20 Division 1 Group A

After dropping a 4-1 game to Belarus, Denmark finished their tournament with a 3-0-1-1 record and 3rd place. Oliver Bjorkstrand of the Portland Winterhawks was 5-3-8 in 5 games (good for 3rd in scoring).

Ranger prospect Thomas Spelling (NYR 2012 6th) was 1-7-8 (good for 8th). Denmark will remain in this group as only the winner gets promoted.

Now if I was Thomas Spelling and wanted a serious shot at a Ranger contract then he needs to come over to North America to advance his development. Nothing against the Swedish leagues but I see how well Bjorkstrand is doing with Portland but Spelling was seen as the better player.

There is a big difference between the Swedish version of the juniors and the Canadian version. If Spelling was playing in the Elite league then no problem but in the under-20 sorry there is one.

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