Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Predator 2 Hitmen 0

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Get right to it, Edmonton/Calgary in game 7 with the winner getting to advance to the WHL Finals against the Portland Winterhawks. Cue the theme from the movie "Predator" as Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) did what he does best and that is score.

St. Croix was all the offense that the Edmonton Oil Kings would need as St. Croix with a 2 goal effort leads the Oil Kings back to the WHL Finals for the 2nd straight year. St. Croix who set a new playoff scoring record for the Oil Kings with his 10-12-22 as he topped the 19 points that he scored last year.

The first goal was on a 2 on 1 rush with Stephane Legault that an off-balanced St. Croix got just enough of to beat Calgary goalie Chris Driedger at 14:05 of the first period. While it proved to be the game/series winning goal, it was part of a 18-8 effort from all of the Oil King lineup in the first period.

St. Croix's 2nd goal was the kind of goal that earned him the "Predator" nickname as he swooped in and one-timed a rebound for the game's 2nd goal at 4:33 of the 2nd period. Both goals you can see at the Oil King website right here.

The game's 2nd star St. Croix was also named the MVP of the WHL's Eastern Conference Final after recording points in 6 out of the 7 games (4-6-10) in the series. The Oil Kings really needed this kind of game out of St. Croix especially when they were missing 2 key players from their lineup in Griffin Reinhart and Trevor Cheeks.

And while I don't want to rain on the Oil King's parade, they are going to need St. Croix to do even more against a very loaded Portland Winterhawk lineup in the WHL Finals. For the first time in 2 seasons, the Oil Kings won't have the home ice advantage in a playoff series as Portland finished the season with the best record in the WHL.

Last year it was Edmonton who had the home ice advantage for game 7 and it paid off for them as they won their first WHL Championship. This year it will be Portland who will have that final game should the series go that far.

This is the series that most WHL fans want to see as the "Evil Empire" Portland make their 3rd attempt at winning the WHL title in the last 3 years while Edmonton looks to make it back to back WHL titles.

Game 1 in Portland on Friday night.

They Deserve a Bow

There was no way that the New York Ranger player development folks could have predicted this but the Rangers will have prospects playing for league championships in all 3 Canadian junior leagues. But that it has happened is something that those folks deserve a bow for.

Now if all 3 prospects (Michael St. Croix, Samuel Noreau and Tommy Hughes) somehow all win their league championships and earn the trip to the Memorial Cup where Shane McColgan and Josh Nicholls of the Saskatoon Blades are waiting then they might need a new floor for Gordie Clark.

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