Thursday, March 27, 2014

Moving On, Holding On and One Last Life

There were no stars on Wednesday evening as New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects found themselves in a variety of situations as playoff series started reaching elimination games. We have our first teams to advance to the second round of their league playoffs and we also have our first teams who are staring elimination right smack in the face.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th)
and his Rimouski Oceanic have been the hottest team in all of the Canadian junior leagues as since February 1st the Oceanic are 21-2. That includes a 4 game sweep of the Chicoutimi Saguenéens who saw their season end with a 5-0 loss. Got to be fair here as the QMJHL's playoff format isn't exactly a fair one as Rimouski came into the playoffs with the 4th best record while Chicoutimi had the 13th.

This was really no contest as Rimouski won the series with a combined 20-4 score but that is how the QMJHL does things. Leduc had a pretty good first round as while he was scoreless in Game 4, Leduc was a +1 on 1 shot with a minor for interference. In round 1 Leduc was 0-2-2 with both assists coming on shorthanded goals and he was a respectable +8 with 11 PIMs.

Rimouski gets to sit as they will go into the 2nd round with no worse than their 4th seed which will give them the home ice advantage. Right now it looks like they will be facing the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada who are the 5th seed.

Also advancing is Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) and his Edmonton Oil Kings who eliminated the Prince Albert Raiders in 4 games after a 6-2 win in Game 4. Reinhart who was the hero of game 3 for the Oil Kings was scoreless and a -2 as he finished the 1st round 1-2-3 with a -3 and 4 PIMs.

Prince Albert who needed a 1 game tiebreaker to make the playoffs actually played better than the sweep indicates as only Game 4 was an easy one for Edmonton. The Oil Kings will be getting plenty of rest as there are 2 playoff series that is tied at 2-2 after 4 games.

Ryan Pulock (NYI 2013 1st) did not score as his Brandon Wheat Kings moved to a commanding 3-0 series lead over Kyle Burroughs (NYI 2013 7th) and his Regina Pats. The Wheat Kings who entered the WHL playoffs as 7th seed is 1 win away from knocking Regina the Eastern Conference's 2nd seed. Pulock was a -1 for the game as his Wheat Kings move 1 step closer to what most likely will be a matchup against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

For Regina Kyle Burroughs was scoreless as his team let a 4-1 first period lead disappear after Brandon scored 4 unanswered goals of their own to steal this win on Regina ice. The Pats fell apart and while their run to the East Division title was unexpected; being swept in 4 games will quite possibly take away from what should be a good accomplishment. Game 4 will be Friday night in Brandon.

Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) had a secondary assist with a +1 while teammate Troy Donnay (NYR 2013 UFA) was scoreless and a +2 as their Erie Otters defeated the Saginaw Spirit 7-3 to take a 3-1 lead in their series. Erie jumped out to a 3-1 first period lead with Pelech earning his secondary assist on Erie's 3rd goal.

Pelech improves to 2-2-4 in the playoffs while teammate Donnay is still looking for his first points of the playoffs. For the Spirit Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) had a primary assist on Saginaw's 2nd goal but by then it was 5-2 and really Saginaw was on the ropes. Graham is 0-2-2 in the series and his season could end if the Spirit don't force a game 6 back in Erie with game 5 scheduled for Thursday night.

Victor Crus Rydberg (NYI 2013 5th) and his Plymouth Whalers are also on the brink of elimination after the Guelph Storm blew game 4 open with 6 unanswered goals en route to a 7-2 win. Crus Rydberg was scoreless and was in the penalty box when Guelph took over the game.

With Plymouth up 2-1 in the 2nd period, Crus Rydberg was serving a minor for hooking that had killed off a Plymouth power play when a teammate took a delay of game minor that Guelph scored the game tying goal. It wasn't Crus Rydberg's fault that the goal was scored just bad timing on his part. The Storm will look to finish the Whalers off in Game 5 on Friday back in Guelph.

Anthony Duclair's (NYR 2013 3rd) Quebec Remparts are 1 loss away from being upset and knocked out of the playoffs after a Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 4-1 win gave them a 3-1 series lead. Quebec has been losing key players left and right so one might as well stick a fork in them for they will be done after game 5 in Rouyn-Noranda.

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