Joel Edmundson is having a playoff to remember. (FILE PHOTO)
While the Moose Jaw Warriors wait patiently for dynamic defenceman Morgan Rielly to return from a knee injury suffered early this season, they’ve been getting some Rielly-esque numbers from a rather unlikely source in Brandonite Joel Edmundson so far in the Western Hockey League playoffs.
Edmundson entered Game 3 of the Warriors’ series against the Medicine Hat Tigers on Tuesday night tied for first in post-season scoring among WHL blue-liners, with three goals and two assists in seven games.
"I’ve been jumping up into the play lately and pucks are just finding their way to the net," said Edmundson, whose team led the Tigers 2-0 in
the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal heading into last night’s game in Medicine Hat, Alta. "I think our forwards are doing a good job of screening the goalies and that allows me to get my shots through and it’s been working out good."
It’s not like Edmundson doesn’t have any skill. The 18-year-old was chosen by the St. Louis Blues in the second round of last year’s National Hockey League Entry Draft and produced a respectable 23 points in his second WHL season, despite being limited to 56 games by an ankle injury.
His three goals in the playoffs are remarkable, though, considering he has only six regular-season goals in his career. In Game 1 against the Tigers, he scored both Warrior goals in a 2-1 victory.
It’s a nice shot in the arm for a team that hasn’t had a top-notch offensive threat on their blue-line since Rielly, a top prospect for this year’s NHL draft, went down after posting 18 points in his first 18 games. The team also played four playoff games without Travis Brown, who led Moose Jaw defenceman with 31 points this season.
Still, Edmundson doesn’t have any grand ideas about filling Rielly’s skates.
"I’m one of the big defencemen we have and we take care of our own end," said the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Edmundson. "Our forwards are really talented, so they can definitely take care of the offensive end. We trust our forwards and they trust us."
AROUND THE WHL: The WHL has handed Portland RW Oliver Gabriel a four-game suspension for his collision with Kamloops G Cole Cheveldave in Game 1 of the Winterhawks’ series against the Kamloops Blazers last Friday. Gabriel served the second game last night and Blazers coach Guy Charron told Gregg Drinnan of the Kamloops Daily News that Cheveldave will be out at least through Game 4 and is a "queston mark for a fifth game." The Winterhawks took a 2-0 series lead into last night’s late game … The WHL will hold its annual U.S. Prospects Camp this weekend in Anaheim, Calif.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 11, 2012