|Richards sets up two third period
goals to lead the Rangers over the Petes
He did the same thing last season, the Petes were dominated in Kitchener and David Currie held the fort, not allowing a goal until the game's midway mark. For the second straight visit Currie was the best Petes player, and for the second straight visit, Eric Staal (who was at the WJC camp with Roy, last season he was healing a broken wrist) was unable to makr the trip. As he did last season, Currie allowed three goals in all, the only difference being that the Petes would also get on the board, something that they failed to do against Harpwood the previous year. Currie's play along with the absense of two-thirds of the Rangers top line put the Rangers at a noticable handicap, and while it made things challenging, the team appears far less arrogant in their approach and requires a solid 60 minute effort to defeat most or any opponent. The intensity shown by the Rangers lead by interm captian Richards was amazing. After dominating for a near full 40 minutes on this night, the Rangers were quickly reminded about how one lapse could erase a night of good work, with only 6 seconds remaining in the second period and the Rangers dominating play, Petes rookie first rounder: Jordan Morrison found his own rebound beating Dickie to tie the game at one goal a piece.
Andre Benoit broke the stalemate at 9:32 of the second period with a seeing-eye point shot which found its way behind Currie. As they did the night before the Rangers frustrated the Petes powerplay, which is quarterbacked by arguably the most dangerous defender in the OHL: Lukas Krajicek. After starting with a new slate in the third period the Rangers and specifically Michael Richards went to work. Richards made a nice move at the blueline to shake two Petes and then went in at Currie and caught the overaged netminder going the wrong way with a backhander to the top corner of the net. The third period was the only period inwhich Currie looked somewhat human and failed to recevie some of the generous bounces that he did in the first two. Not too long after taking the lead the Rangers were supposed to be back on their heels killing a crucial penalty with only 5 minutes left in regulation, Micheal Richards stripped the puck off of defender: Mark Flood and then proceeded to work his way infront. Currie's pokecheck attempt which had worked so well earlier in the game failed, sending the puck flying straight upwards. Benoit nearly shoved the puck in with his stomach, and then after the puck was stopped by Currie he stuffed it under the unsuspecting netminder with his stick. The goal turned out to be the winner as Lukas Krajicek's point shot would deflect past Dickie with only seconds left in the game, and Currie out in favor of an extra attacker.
The Rangers fired 40 shots at Currie, 17 of
which came in the second period alone. Dickie was solid making 29
saves and earning 2nd star honors. For Benoit it was his first shorthanded
goal of the season, giving him a goal on both specialty teams and giving
him 1st star for his excellent efforts on the night. The Rangers
dressed two bantam call-ups: Cam Fergus who was taken in the 6th round
and Mike Chmielewski who became the first Ranger player to wear the number
13, was taken in the 10th round of the 2002 draft. The Petes did
not have their callup: Liam Reddox in the lineup, however he did play the
week before in Peterborough. Prior to this start against the Rangers
Currie had posted back to back shutouts in Peterborough against Kingston,
and in Toronto earning him player of the week honors in the OHL.