The two remaining New York Rangers’ prospects in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) playoffs are battling head-to-head in the Western Leagues’ (WHL) Eastern Conference Championship.
Michael St. Croix (2011 fourth-round pick) and the Edmonton Oil Kings continue to roll-on in the playoffs, having won 11 straight post-season match-ups and over 20 straight games dating back to the regular season. The Oil Kings lead Dylan McIlrath (2010 first-round pick—10th overall) and the Moose Jaw Warriors, 3-0, in the series, and an Edmonton win tonight closes that series in four games.
St. Croix, 19, has 1-2-3 in the three-games against Moose Jaw, and 4-7-11 in 11 total post-season games. During the regular season, St. Croix unloaded 45 goals and 60 assists for 105 points in 72 games. He continues to be a force upfront for Edmonton, and could lead his club to a WHL championship and possibly the Memorial Cup.
At the other end of the ice, 20-year-old defenseman McIlrath needs to shutdown St. Croix and the powerful Oil Kings offense to have any chance of a comeback. McIlrath is a minus-4 with one assist and two penalty-minutes in the series, and in 12 total playoff games he has six assists, a plus-3 rating and 10 penalty-minutes.
If McIlrath is eliminated tonight, he will very likely join the Connecticut Whale for its AHL playoff run. The Whale finished its first-round series against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday, sweeping them in three games, and will begin round 2 next week.
Last season, McIlrath signed an Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreement with the Whale, and played twice during the regular season. He may receive another chance during the playoffs, before joining the Whale full-time next season.
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