Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Super sweet 16

Shane McColgan (Steve Hiscock)
Tuesday night was sweet for 2 New York Ranger and 1 New York Islander prospects as they did what the New York Rangers couldn't do which was win and win when they needed a win. For one team, it was a night where they not only added to a franchise record but they also punched their ticket to the playoffs.

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) may not have scored in his Saskatoon Blade's 4-0 win over Red Deer but seriously doubt that it mattered to him. His Saskatoon Blades have gone from the punchline of jokes to the hottest team in all of the Canadian Juniors after their 16th straight win.

If you had any doubts about how scary good this Blade team has become then you should have watched the performance the Blades put on in the 2nd period as it was a clinic. Red Deer is not a bad team but the Blades did a number on them at both ends of the ice.

The Blades may have only scored 2 goals but the 24-3 difference in shots on goal in the period tell a story into itself. It is doubtful that Red Deer could have done anything to stop the Blades on this evening.

January 23rd was the last time that Saskatoon lost and that left them with a 23-21-0-3 record for 49 points. After the win, the Blades are 39-21-0-3 good for 81 points and it will be interesting to see whether or not the Blades have finally cracked the CHL Mastercard Top Ten come Wednesday.

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
It was a night of ironies as the last team to defeat the Saskatoon Blades was the Edmonton Oil Kings. It was ironic because on a night where a power play goal could have earned the Rangers at least a point against the Winnipeg Jets; a Ranger prospect was recording his 37th and 38th power play points on the season.

Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) and his Edmonton Oil Kings were in Kent, Washington to play the Seattle Thunderbirds looking to break a 3 game losing streak. St. Croix with a 1-2-3 evening did his part to help the Oil Kings earn a 6-2 win over the Thunderbirds.

St. Croix had a primary assist on the Oil King's 2nd goal which was on the power play coming at 2:22 of the 2nd period. With Edmonton up 4-1, Martin Gernat found a streaking St. Croix sending him off on a breakaway which St. Croix cashed in for his 32nd goal of the season at 8:42 of the 3rd period.

St. Croix and his power play skills were not finished as St. Croix and company put on a passing display leading to St. Croix setting up Curtis Lazar for an easy tap in at 13:19 of the 3rd and a 6-1 lead. St. Croix earned the game's 2nd star as he improved to 32-45-77 good for a share of the team scoring lead and "lucky" 13th in the WHL.

Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Teammate Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) may not have scored but he made his presence known on the Edmonton blueline helping Edmonton reverse their penalty killing woes. It wasn't perfect as Seattle did cash in on a power play chance but that all Seattle could do going 1 for 3.

Both Saskatoon and Edmonton will be in action Wednesday as Saskatoon heads to Calgary to play the Hitmen while Edmonton travels down I-5 for a game against the Portland Winterhawks. That game will be a rematch of the 2012 WHL finals won by Edmonton in a thrilling (for them) Game 7.

Portland will be looking for a little revenge and perhaps a message to be sent as so far this season it is Portland who if the WHL season ended today would have home ice all the way through the playoffs. The 2 best teams in the WHL one on one and should be a dandy.

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