Thursday, January 24, 2013

Birthday boy

Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Now everyone likes a good birthday party and on Wednesday evening the Edmonton Oil Kings helped their captain Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) get an early start on his 19th birthday celebration with a 4-2 win over the Saskatoon Blades. Reinhart had a 2 goal game to help the Edmonton Oil Kings win their 3rd straight game and open a 4 point lead over the Calgary Hitmen.

Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th)
played set up man for Reinhart's 1st goal of the game which came at 13:01 of the first period and gave Edmonton a 3-0 lead. For Reinhart, it was his 5th goal of the season and his 4th power play goal of the season.

The goal would become more important later on as the Blades scored a goal late in the first to make it a 3-1 game after one period. The Blades would score again in the 2nd period to make it a 1 goal game heading into the 3rd period before Reinhart would put the game away with his 2nd goal of the game and 6th of the season.

For Reinhart, the 2 goals were a season high as he improved to 6-12-18 and his first goal of the game became the game winning goal which was his 2nd of the season. Michael St. Croix with the assist improved to 22-32-54 as St. Croix now has a modest 4 game scoring streak (1-4-5).

St. Croix also spent 4 minutes in the penalty box on 2 minors that the Oil Kings killed off but pretty sure Coach Derek Laxdal was not happy that St. Croix took those penalties in the last 2 minutes of the 1st and 2nd period.

For Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) and his Blade teammates; the loss just gave more ammo to the critics who question whether or not the team will be a worthy competitor in the Memorial Cup. Even more frustrating for McColgan who was scoreless in this game has to be just 1 goal in his last 9 games.

What looked like a chance to finish his WHL career on a high note by playing in the Memorial Cup, McColgan and his teammates are struggling just to earn a WHL playoff spot. One last note from this game as stick tap to Neate Sager who pointed out that all 4 Oil King goals were scored by the sons of former NHL players.

The 2 goals from Reinhart (father was Paul Reinhart), Henrik Samuelsson (Son of Ulfie), and David Musil (father was Frank, uncle is Bobby Holik). And it would be unfair not to mention that Michael St. Croix's father is Rick St. Croix who is a former Flyer and current Toronto assistant coach.

In Spokane, Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) scored one goal that counted in the scoresheet and one goal that didn't but won the game for his Spokane Chiefs as they made it 2 straight wins over the Portland Winterhawks thanks to a 5-4 shootout win.

The bad blood from Monday's game did not carry over in part could be attributed to Portland earning a $500 fine and having 2 players suspended (1 for 1 game and the other has the TBD which means more games).

This one was not for the faint of heart as both teams combined for 3 goals in a span of 2:02 in the first period with Kichton scoring at 18:23 to give Spokane a 2-1 lead that they took into the 1st intermission. It was Kichton's 16th goal of the season and overall his numbers are 16-42-58 (11th overall WHL, 1st WHL defenders).

Spokane added a 3rd goal in the 2nd to make it 3-1 but Portland started their rally in the 3rd scoring early to make it 3-2. Spokane responded with another goal and it looked like that would do it but Portland scored twice to tie the game at 4-4 and forced overtime.

Neither team could score in the overtime which led to the shootout where Kichton shooting 3rd was the only one to score on his attempt to give Spokane the extra point. Don't ask me how but these same 2 teams will take a day off and then face each other in Spokane on Friday.

In Baie-Comeau, the Baie-Comeau did some that they had not done since December 16th; they lost a game in regulation as they lost to the Gatineau Olympiques 4-2. Actually we should rephrase that to that the Drakkar lost to Eric Brassard the goalie of the Olympiques who stopped 47 out of 49 shots.

At the same time one can say that the Drakkar goalies lost this one as the 2 Drakkar goalies gave up 4 goals on 14 shots in the 2nd period. Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) was scoreless on a team high 6 shots and 1 hit.

So the Drakkar see their 11 unbeaten streak end but they also fell from 2nd to 4th in the QMJHL standings.

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