|Win gives the Rangers impressive
3-0-2 season lead over the Storm
Adam Dennis was the story of the afternoon, as the Rangers improved their record to 3-0-2 over the Guelph Storm, Dennis was especially impressive in stopping newest Rangers forward: Jesse Boucher not once by twice in the extra period. The one stop where Nathan O'Nabigon feed Boucher out in front all alone had Rangers fans falling into the backs of their seats in frustration. The Rangers dominated the extra period but were unable to solve Dennis. Much like Storm starting netminder Andrew Penner often does, Dennis shut the door on the Rangers after the halfway point of the game, time enough for the Guelph Storm to tie the game at 2, which is how the game ended after a scoreless third.
The 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon start (to accomodate the World Junior Championships gold medal game between Canada and Russia) had a season-high crowd for a Sunday game, the announced attendance of 5869 consisted of very few Storm fans, those in attendance for the most part were very energetic despite a game which at times lacked intensity. The Storm were playing their third game in three nights, and had just returned from Plymouth the night before. On the three game weekend set the Storm went undefeated, winning once and tying a pair of games 2-2. The game lacked some of the hard hitting intensity that the teams and their fans enjoyed last season as the Rangers barely eeked out a 3-2-3 victory in the season series, allowing the Rangers to capture their 2nd of 3 Great Canadian Cups. Still without Daniel Paille, Dustin Brown and Lou Dickenson whom they just dispatched to Ottawa for a draft pick, they Storm have been very hot lately, and looked as impressive as they did prior to Jeff Jackson's mass suspensions.
For the first time in long while, fights were not the order of the night unlike the Rangers last visit to Guelph, where the game was more or less pre-empted by a Ryan Thompson sideshow, things kept on track in Kitchener, though there was a little sparring between Eason and Thompson. David Clarkson was guilty of plunging on top of a pile of Ranger and Storm players like a full back plunging over an offensive line at the goal line. It was probably the closest that the Rangers came to scoring in the third period.
Jesse Boucher, a free-agent signee played in his first game as a Ranger but did not record a point. He played on a line centered by: Evan McGrath with David Clarkson on the wing. Last season with the Markham Waxers Boucher recorded 51 goals in only 47 games, production very similar to that of Jeff Szwez who was a overage free-agent last season.
The Rangers and Storm traded powerplay goals in the first period. The Rangers goal came on a point shot from Marcus Smith which may have actually been deflected twice , Evan McGrath was credited with the goal. A top corner lazer beam beat DiRienzo later on in the period also on the powerplay, the shot was simply too quick for DiRienzo to snag it with his glove. The Rangers temporary top unit of Kanko, Richards and O'Nabigon has been red hot, they gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead midway through the second period, repetitively banging away at a puck in the crease. Official: Brad Beer was in perfect position to see that the puck was free and to watch Kanko finally bang the puck in. Ryan Callahan broke into the Rangers' zone late in the period, unfortunately Marcus Smith caught an edge while backtracking fell and Callahan went in and undressed DiRienzo whom had just earlier made an impressive shoulder stop on a Aaron Lobb clear break.
The tie gave the Rangers a mark of 7-2-1 in
their last ten overall, and ran their home unbeaten streak up to 8 games
(7-0-1), the tie also kept the Rangers the Rangers on pace with the Ottawa
67's, the Rangers are only 1 point back of the 67's for first place overall
in the OHL. McGrath's goal was his first in 5 games, the last goal
also coming on the man advantage in Owen Sound. Michael Richards'
assist gives him a two point lead over Derek Roy in the team's scoring
race at 52 points. Gregory Campbell who will return on Tuesday needs
only one goal to equal last season's goal total. Rangers' George
Halkidis and Rafal Martynowski were awarded second and thrid star respectively.