|Barnyard antics take away from
otherwise good game
The Rangers waltzed into Windsor, each team was missing their kingpins: Derek Roy, and Kyle Wellwood respectively, Gregory Campbell was also at the World Junior camp. With the absense of Roy and Campbell the Rangers elected to dress 7 defenders including rugged rookie, Matt McCann who has spent the lion's share of the season playing in the Midwestern Jr. B circuit this season. The Rangers as they have been many times in the last couple of seasons as Teddy Bear night has caught on around the league were victims of a teddy bear night in Windsor. As Evan McGrath and the Rangers did in Kitchener, the Windsor Spitfires got formalities out of the way early. David Bowman scored less than one minute in firing a shot into the top corner glove-side on Dickie, the shot was more deceptive than powerful.
It appeared if the Rangers had scored in the first as well, however the goal was called back because it was ruled that the net was off of it's magnets. The second period was intense, Josh Gratton intentionally snowed Dickie and the fireworks got started. Gratton challenged Halkidis to duke 'em out and surprisingly George Halkidis took little time to drop his gloves and start. Halkidis was a clear winner cutting Gratton and landing the lion's share of the punches. The fight seemed to spur the Rangers on. Michael Richards roofed a major league shot on Aschaber in the same spot as Bowman had scored earlier in the game. The goal came off of a defensive turnover by the Spitfires. Unfortunately for the Rangers Donally and the Spits would regain the lead only 47 seconds later. The period ended with Harrison and Janssen dropping the gloves, unlike the other heavyweigh matchup, this one was more of a wrestling match, Harrison had Janssen really tangled up and they went down at the boards in the dying seconds of the second period. One of the highlights of the period was a Windsor breakaway where Grennier pulled down a Spitfire play which evntually led to a three-on-none on the delayed penalty. Dickie made the save, and denied the Spitifires on the powerplay as well.
Mike James opened up a two-goal lead for the Spitfires early in the third on a beautiful tip in from the side of the net. The Rangers appeared to have picked up a break when T.J. Eason was holding Janssen's leg and when official: Oakman turned around Eason's helmet was in the process of coming off, and Janssen who was actually innoscent on the play was sent to the box. Seconds later the Rangers feel victim to a some terribly sloppy play on the powerplay, and a breakdown led to Kennedy wiring a shot top corner on Dickie. The game started to degenerate when first Keefe fought Janssen, unfortunately Janssen came out on top and Keefe appeared to be seriously hurt on the play. Next bout only 10 seconds later featured Thomas Harrison and Josh Gratton, both in their second 'bouts of the night. A wild fight led to both combatants getting 7 minutes in penalties effectivley removing them from the game. The game continued to degenerate during a play stoppage a minute later where Hennigar, Kennedy for the Spits and McCann and Manias were removed from the game. It appeared as if it were almost planned since the Rangers had effectively gotten rid of all of Windsor's top forwards. After chants of "Warm up the bus from the 2868 in attendance the Rangers turned up the intensity on the offensive side of the puck, Clarkson scored while on a new line with McFarland and Martynowski. Richards would score within a minute later, a great solo effort to bring the Rangers to within one. After numerous delays including a Rangers time out and several clock adjustments, the Rangers were not able to complete the comeback. Michael Richards was named the game's second star but was probably the best player out on the ice.
The Rangers 6 game winning streak came to a scretching halt, and on the season the Rangers are now 0-3 against the Spits, with only one game left in Kitchener between the two this season. Last season the Rangers took the season series 4-0-0, including an overtime win in Windsor. Adam Keefe is out indefinately with a leg injury after his fight with Janssen.