Shane McColgan (Steve Hiscock)
The race for the 2013 Memorial Cup began on Thursday evening with mixed results for the Ranger and Islander prospects in action on Thursday evening. In the case of the Ranger prospects in action; it was as if the Ranger/Panther game spilled over into theirs.
Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) and Josh Nicholls (NYR 2013 UFA) saw their 2nd seeded Saskatoon Blades open their 2013 playoff run with a 4-1 loss to the 7th seeded Medicine Hat Tigers. The Blades shot themselves in the foot by managing just 5 shots in the 1st period as Medicine Hat scored twice taking a 2-0 lead and didn't look back.
McColgan and Nicholls would get the Blades back into the game in the 2nd period combining to score what wound up being the Blades only goal of the game while on a power play to cut the Tiger lead to 2-1. McColgan scored on a rebound of a Nicholls shot as the duo did their best in the 2nd period to try to get the Blades on the scoreboard.
McColgan and Nicholls struggled like their teammates did in the 1st period but their play in the 2nd and 3rd wasn't that bad as McColgan earned the game's 3rd star for his play. Still in the end, the best the Blades could manage was that 1 goal and the Tigers have a 1-0 lead in the series because of it.
Medicine Hat has now defeated Saskatoon in 5 straight playoff games going back to last year where they swept the Blades in their playoff series. Game 2 is Friday night in Saskatoon, hopefully when they dig Saskatoon out of the Spring snow storm that they find a better effort in all that snow.
In the OHL, Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) and his 2nd seeded Barrie Colts dodged a bullet as they defeated the 7th seeded Kingston Frontenacs 3-1 to open their Eastern Conference playoff series. The Colts gave the Frontenacs 7 power plays but Kingston failed to cash in any of them.
Theoret was scoreless but it was his line that scored Barrie's 1st goal of the game just 58 seconds into the 2nd period to erase a 1-0 Kingston lead. Barrie unlike Saskatoon made the most of their chances to avoid the game 1 upset at home.
Game 2 will be Saturday night.
Post Season Awards
Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) was named the WHL's Western Conference's Defenseman of the Year as well as earned a spot on the Western Conference's First All-Star Team. For Kichton, it is a repeat from last year as he earned the same awards.
Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) was named to the WHL's Eastern Conference's First All-Star Team. St. Croix was a member of the 2012 WHL's Eastern Conference Second All-Star Team.