Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dr Jekyll and Mr Pedan

Andrey Pedan (OHL Images)
Tuesday night was a wild and crazy night for the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects as the unexpected becomes even wilder by the game. If you were on a lower seeded team then in most cases your team won leaving higher seeded teams trying to figure out what happened.

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd)
has to be the luckiest prospect out there as he went from goat to hero in a matter of 3:20 to help his 5th seeded Guelph Storm rally from down 2-0 to win game 3 of their OHL Western Conference playoff series with the 4th seeded Kitchener Rangers. The game's first star, Pedan scored 2 goals during the already mentioned span rallying the Storm from what looked like a sure loss to a win and a new life in their series.

Going to send folks to our friend Neate Sager of Yahoo Canada's Buzzing the Net for the details. How crazy for Pedan who drives me nuts with his Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde act as the cynic in me says that Pedan was just flat out lucky to escape being blamed for what would have been the Storm's 3rd loss in the series.

Instead Pedan gets named 1st star and the Storm instead of being down 0-3 are 1-2 with a chance on Thursday to tie the series in Game 4. The Storm keep playing with fire though as they were New York Ranger bad on their power plays going 0 for 10.

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
One would think that the 1st seed Edmonton Oil Kings having outscored the 8th seeded Kootenay Ice 17-3 in the 3 games the two teams have played would be up 3-0. That isn't the case but the Oil Kings lead their WHL' Eastern Conference series 2-1 after a 7-1 win in game 3. Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) earned the game's first star with a 2-1-3 +3 performance in the win over the Ice.

St. Croix got the Oil Kings going with his 3rd goal of the WHL Playoffs with an unassisted goal just 1:50 into the game. The Ice would tie the game up at the 3:24 mark but the Oil King's Curtis Lazar would give the Oil King's the lead for good with a goal 49 seconds later at 4:13.

St. Croix would make it a 3-1 lead with his 2nd goal of the period 2:01 later at 6:14. The Oil Kings would add a goal in the 2nd period and Griffin Reinhart (NYR 2012 1st) made it 5-1 with a power play goal in the 3rd.

For Reinhart it was his first goal and second point of the series as the Oil Kings converted on their only power play of the game. St. Croix would finish his night with a secondary assist on the Oil King's 6th goal.

For St. Croix he has goals in all 3 games played in this series (4-3-7 2nd WHL) as he sticks with his "Unfinished Business" mantra. But the way this series has gone so far it will be interesting to see what happens Wednesday night in game 4.

Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th)
and his 4th seeded Spokane Chiefs had a chance to push the 5th seeded Tri-City Americans to a 3-0 series hole in their WHL's Western Conference playoff series. Up 3-1 after 1 period and taking a 4-1 lead in the 2nd period only to see the Americans score 4 unanswered goals including the game winner at 10:46 of overtime and lose 5-4.

Kichton was scoreless and a -3 for the game as in the postgame, Spokane's GM Tim Speltz called out his team's veterans for their play in this game. Ignoring the angry comments; this was a dandy in the 3rd and overtime as the goalies involved Eric Williams for Spokane and Luke Lee-Knight for Tri-City put on one heck of show robbing the shooters of what looked like sure goals.

And really anyone who knows the history between these two teams knows that this series is destined to go 7 as the long time rivals fight tooth and nail even in preseason games. Game 4 will be Thursday night in Tri-City.

Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) and Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 5th) combined to set up Niagara's 2nd goal as the IceDogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-2 win over the Oshawa Generals in game 3 of their OHL's Eastern Conference series.

Graham had the primary with Strome the secondary assist on Steven Shipley's goal in the 2nd period as the 6th seeded IceDogs earned their 1st win over the 3rd seeded Generals. The IceDogs trail in the series 2-1 as Graham recorded his 3rd point and Strome just his 2nd.

Game 4 will be Thursday evening in St Catherines (home of the IceDogs).

Then there is the series that has media folk just shaking their heads in wonder which is the Saskatoon Blades who despite coming on like gangbusters to earn the 2nd seed in the WHL's Eastern Conference now are staring elimination in the face after losing game 3 to the 7th seeded Medicine Hat Tigers 5-2. Talk about a massive implosion as if the Blades are swept out in 4 games will have 7 weeks to wait before the Memorial Cup begins.

Even worse for the Blades is leading goal scorer Josh Nicholls (NYR 2013 UFA) might be facing a suspension after a just flat out dumb 2 handed slashing major Nicholls earned at the final buzzer. It just might be the symbol of the meltdown that the Blades have had as they just can't figure out how to beat a 4-1 trap that the Tigers use.

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) isn't helping his cause to earn a contract from the Rangers as he has forgotten how to use his speed to escape the Tiger defenders. Really there is zero reason why Medicine Hat should have a 3-0 series lead as if the Blades used what earned them a 21-1-1 finish then their critics would not be having the field day they are.

Game 4 is Wednesday evening in Medicine Hat and it is really hard to believe that the Blades have what it takes to win 1 game let alone a comeback to defeat the Tigers in this series. What is ironic is that McColgan's former team the Kelowna Rockets are in the exact same boat; a 2nd seed trailing a 7th seed only in the WHL's Western Conference.

Kelowna has lost all 3 games in overtime to a Seattle team that is making it's first trip to the playoffs since 2009. Funny how when Kelowna was knocked out of last year's playoffs; it led to the trade of McColgan to the Blades.

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