Monday, May 13, 2013

Staying Alive Day 3

Portland Winterhawks 2013 WHL Champions (Andy Devlin)
In the end it was just too much everything for the Edmonton Oil Kings to overcome as they fell to the Portland Winterhawks 5-1 in game 6 of the WHL Finals and were eliminated 4 games to 2. Portland gets to move on to the 2013 Memorial Cup as the WHL Champions but this was a series that was entertaining as well as frustrating at times for fans of both teams.

Edmonton for the first time in the series actually got off to a good start jumping on the scoreboard just 64 seconds into the game when Travis Ewanyk fired a shot that Portland wound up putting in their own net for a 1-0 lead. Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) earned the primary assist on the play for his 13th assist and team leading 26th point.

That was the only highlight for the Oil Kings who held the lead for just 3:24 before the Winterhawks would score the 1st of 2 shorthanded goals on the same double minor to take the lead for good. Ty Rattie scored off a turnover at 4:28 to tie the game up and then it was Rattie again at 7:15 to give Portland the lead and this game was basically over. Portland took their 2-1 lead into the first intermission

Edmonton never recovered from the double shorthanded goals to really mount any real threat despite how early in the game the goals came. Portland just played their typical pressure defense and any hope the Oil Kings had was wiped out after a 2 goal 2nd period which extended Portland's lead to 4-1. All that was left was the final buzzer and the Oil Kings who got to celebrate winning the WHL title on their home ice last year had to watch the Winterhawks celebrate on their own ice.

Now Michael St. Croix will be turning his attention to earning a spot on the CT Whale's roster for the 2013-2014 season. St.Croix who turned 20 on April 10 has played 4 full seasons with the Oil Kings and owns just about every offensive record that the franchise has. St.Croix in 280 games with the Oil Kings scored 128 goals, recorded 192 assists for a total of 320 points.

The one area where St. Croix should be a difference maker from day 1 with the Whale will be on the power play where 52 of his goals came from. And the Rangers should thank Oil King coach Derek Laxdal as he did a great job helping St. Croix improve his game especially during the last 2 years.

As for the Winterhawks, they head to Saskatoon where they will face Halifax Mooseheads with Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin next Saturday starting at 7PM EDT/4PM PDT. A chance to see 3 of the top prospects in the 2013 NHL draft going up against each other should be very interesting.

The sad thing is viewers in the USA won't be able to see the game live as the NHL Network is not currently scheduled to show the Memorial Cup live. The games are currently scheduled to air the next day in the afternoon. If that changes I will be very happy to post the word.

One game left in the Staying Alive Weekend and that is Monday night as Tommy Hughes and the London Knights will host Mitchell Theoret in Game 7 of the WHL Finals.

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