The Stockton Heat defeated the Bakersfield Condors 2-1 last Friday, pushing them out of playoff contention by securing the fourth and final post-season spot in the Pacific Division.
Since then, the "black aces" have been summoned. Condors skaters have been getting the call to join the big squad with goalie Nick Ellis and defenceman Griffin Reinhart being the first two. The players have been practicing with the team and soaking up the playoff atmosphere.
"It's obviously a pretty cool time of the year for hockey fans and players," said Reinhart.
The rearguard ended the regular season with seven goals, 14 assists and 21 points in 54 games. Reinhart's game improved after the Condorstown Outdoor Classic, when the defenceman scored the overtime winner under the lights against the Ontario Reign.
"I think I picked up my season halfway through," said Reinhart. "I thought I was playing well at the start but I think production-wise, things started to fall into place for me."
Ellis, meanwhile, completed his first pro season with a 2.69 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and a 16-12-2 record in 34 games played.
"Things ended up ending pretty well and I'm pretty happy with my performance all-around," said Ellis.
The undrafted netminder started the year honing his skills behind Laurent Brossoit but after some mid-season shuffling, became the Condors starter.
"Around February I really started to click and I got into a bit of a rhythm," he said. "When LB (Laurent Brossoit) was down, I was kind of playing every four or five games. And then once LB got sent up, I was able to play a little bit more, get into a rhythm and felt a lot more comfortable game after game."
The two prospects may not get to experience any post-season action but being with the team is valuable in itself.
"Whether I play or not, it's a good experience and it motivates you for the summer coming up and trying to do everything you can to be here next year," said Reinhart.
The Oilers have also recalled defencemen Mark Fayne and Jordan Oesterle, as well as forwards Joey Laleggia - who moved from defence to left wing this season - and Anton Lander.
PROSPECT PLAYOFF UPDATE
G Dylan Wells, Peterborough Petes
Drafted 123rd overall (5th Round) in 2016
Peterborough Petes vs Niagara IceDogs - Peterborough swept series 4-0
Peterborough Petes vs Kingston Frontenacs - Peterborough swept series 4-0
Peterborough Petes vs Mississauga Steelheads - Begins Thursday, April 20
Dylan Wells was brilliant during the regular season, lifting Peterborough from the middle of the pack to the top of the standings among the Ontario Hockey League.
Now, Wells' performance in the post-season is reaching new heights.
The Petes are on an eight-game win streak, sweeping both the Niagara IceDogs and Kingston Frontenacs so far in the playoffs. Wells sports a 1.94 goals-against average and .944 save percentage, earning himself Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week honours.
Wells also showed he can do more than just use his paddle to stop pucks. The netminder scored a goalie goal from behind his own net to give the Petes a 6-2 lead in the series-sweeping win over the Frontenacs.
Peterborough will challenge the Mississauga Steelheads for the Bobby Orr Trophy in the Eastern Conference Final next.
D Ethan Bear, Seattle Thunderbirds
Drafted 124th overall (5th Round) in 2015
Seattle Thunderbirds vs Tri-City Americans - Seattle swept series 4-0
Seattle Thunderbirds vs Everett Silvertips - Seattle swept series 4-0
Seattle Thunderbirds vs Kelowna Rockets - Begins Friday, April 21
Bear and the Thunderbirds struck the Tri-City Americans and Everett Silvertips out of the Western Hockey League Playoffs with eight consecutive wins to advance to the 2017 WHL Western Conference Championship. The T-Birds are now set for a tough opponent in the Kelowna Rockets, who were able to win three of the four meetings between the clubs this season.
As for Bear himself, the rearguard continues to strike offensively. He has three goals and 13 points in eight playoff games. The Ochapowace, SK, product will continue to be relied on in both ends of the ice as the series unfolds. Read about Bear and the role he provides on his club and in his community here. Read about his electrifying offensive season here.
F Aapeli Rasanen, Sioux City Musketeers
Drafted 153rd overall (6th round) in 2016
Sioux City Musketeers vs Des Moines Buccaneers - Sioux City leads 2-0
Aapeli Rasanen and his Sioux City Musketeers made it their quest to capture the Anderson Cup as United States Hockey League regular season champions. Now, the goal is to secure a Clark Cup, awarded to the post-season winners. Rasanen - alongside compatriot, linemate and draft prospect Eeli Tolvanen - are up 2-0 in their series against the Des Moines Buccaneers and can advance with one more victory. It will be the first time since 2014 that the Musketeers have made it to the Western Conference Finals. So far, Rasanen has one assist in two post-season contests. Read more about Rasanen and his on-ice endeavours here.