...as in, "five Blues' prospects still playing in the postseason."
All are in major junior; one in the QMJHL, two in the OHL, and two in the WHL (both on one team)... and all four of their teams lost the most recent game of the Conference Championship series in which they're taking part, on their home ice.
In the Ontario League, after a 3-0 series-opening win on Wednesday night, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and the Barrie Colts saw their express train through the OHL playoffs switched to a siding momentarily as the visiting Missisauga St. Michaels Majors topped the Colts 5-2 on Friday night in an Eastern Conference Championship matchup. The loss was Barrie's first in the 2010 OHL playoffs.
The Majors took a 3-0 lead after one period, and were never headed in the game. Pietrangelo was held scoreless by the Majors, and was a minus-2, only the second time in ten playoff games the Blues' 2008 first-round selection (4th overall) has been a minus. Currently, Pietrangelo is fourth in OHL playoff scoring by defensemen with a 2-10-12 scoring line, a plus-7 mark, and no penalty minutes.
For the second consecutive season, the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference final comes down to the Brandon (MB) Wheat Kings vs. the Calgary Hitmen. The Hitmen won last season's series on their way to the WHL crown, but suffered an early setback in this year's series as Brandon took the series opener 4-2 last night before 8600-plus fans at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Both Ian Schultz (87th overall, 2008) and Tyler Shattock (108th overall, 2009) were held off the scoresheet last night as Calgary took a 1-0 lead in the first before surrendering three unanswered goals to the Wheat Kings.
Schultz (14 GP, 5-3-8, plus-1, 13 PM) finished the night with an even plus/minus and a first-period Holding The Stick penalty, while Shattock finished a minus-2 with no penalty minutes. Currently, Shattock is tied for seventh in WHL playoff scoring with a 5-10-15 scoring line, a plus-5, and 20 penalty minutes in 14 games.
Heading east to Quebec, les Voltigeurs de Drummondville have been steamrolling through the QMJHL playoffs laregly on the strength of top-notch goaltending by Jake Allen (34th overall, 2008). The 19-year-old Allen is still learning consistency, however, and he faltered just a bit last night as les Voltigeurs went down to a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Moncton (NB) Wildcats.
Allen surrendered 5 goals on 28 shots in the loss to Moncton. In this season's playoffs, Allen has allowed 22 total goals in 10 PO games, with 13 of those goals against coming in just three games (5 vs MON 4/16, 4 vs RIM 4/2, 4 vs RIM on 4/6). In those games, Allen is 1-2-0 with a 4.54 GAA and a sub-par 80.9% save percentage; in his other seven games played, however, "Jake The Snake" is 7-0-0 with a sparkling 1.29 GAA and 93.5% save percentage. Overall in the playoffs, Allen is 8-2-0 in ten games with a 2.23 GAA and an 89.3% save percentage.
Returning finally to the Ontario League, the Windsor Spitfires are the defending OHL and Memorial Cup champions, and have roared through the regular season (50-12-1-5, 331 GF, 203 GA) and playoffs. Like Barrie in the Eastern Conference, however, Windsor's road to a Western Conference championship got a little bumpier thanks to a 7-6 overtime loss to the Kitchener Rangers on Thursday night.
Wth the score tied at 6-all after two periods of play, neither team scored on a total of 24 shots on goal in the third (14-10 Windsor) to set up the overtime. In the extra stanza, Windsor outshot Kitchener 13-3, but it was a shot from the stick of Rangers' defenseman Jonatahan Jasper at 9:49 of OT that made the difference.
Blues' prospect Mark Cundari, signed as a free agent by St. Louis in 2008, racked up a pair of assists, a solid plus-5, and four PM in the game. Currently, Cundari sports a 1-8-9 scoring line, with a plus-12 and 18 PM in 9 games, good for 8th in defenseman scoring in the OHL playoffs. Cundari's plus-12 is tied with Barrie's Matt Kennedy for the OHL playoff plus-minus lead.
The Ontario and Western League playoff series resume tonight, while Drummondville plays next on Sunday evening.
-- by Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department