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Miracle comeback falls short in Brampton


Rangers run out of gas for the first time while playing three in three

Scott Dickie who replaced Carlo DiRienzo late in the second looks behind
his goal as impressive 3rd overall pick Wojtek Wolski works for the puck.

The three Rangers who represented Canada at the World Juniors made their third stop for honors in Brampton, joined by another teammate: Jay McClement who was unable to play but did walk on the to ice at the Bunker to be honored.  McClement wasn't the only star center that the Battalion were missing, Kamil Kreps who will play in the prospects game in Kitchener on January 22nd was also out of the lineup.  The Battalion who are in more or less a transition stage between a rebuilding team and a contender struggle for consistency and despite losing two games to open their weekend, took the final two points of a possible six from the Rangers.  Aside from their rapid start out of the gates the Battalion have done little to suggest that they are contenders and at the same time little to prove that they're pretenders either.

The Rangers still seem to be haunted by memories of yester-year this season, history continues to repeat itself time and time again.  Last season the Rangers lost their first two to the Battalion before winning the final four matchups of the season, one by an amazing 10-0 scored at the Memorial Auditorium.  This season the Rangers don't get a second shot at the troops and for that matter for the first time ever miss out on playing the Battalion in their unmistakable pea green threads.  The Rangers finish the season 0-2-0 against Butler's crew.  Even more disturbing is the striking resemblence between this matchup and the 4-1 loss in Kitchener in the Rangers third game of the season, their third loss in a row.  In both games the Rangers outshot the Battalion by wide margins, and in both games rookie Ranger netminder Carlo DiRienzo allowed 4 goals in each of the matchup against the Battalion.  The timing of the Battalion goals seemed to almost synchronize with how the goals went in, in the third game of the young Rangers' season.  After the Rangers got down by a count of 4 to 1, DeBoer decided to break script, and while the dividends didn't come immediately, the goals against stopped.  Veteran netminder: Scott Dickie was sharp, though not overly busy making 6 stops in just over a period's work.

The Rangers left the first period tied 1-1, after flukey goals by first, Brent Burns, and second Rafal Martynowski.  In the second period.  Henrich scored on the powerplay giving the Battalion the lead again, prior to a couple of quick goals by Rozendal and Young late in the period, Young's goal was his third point on the afternoon, earning him first star honors.  It was Young's goal that chased the young Rangers netminder, Kevin Young was an overage free agent acquisition from the WHL by Brampton's Director of Hockey operations: Stan Butler.  On October 27th, Kevin Young became the first Battalion defender to score a hattrick in an 8-0 win over the Mississauga Ice Dogs.

Despite injury and suspension Adam Keefe's hard work this season has been somewhat of a sparkplug for the Rangers.  With the Rangers trailing 4-1 late in the third period, the unsung Rangers fourth line got the Rangers on the board and back into the game with just under five minutes left.  Adam Keefe scored the goal while working alongside: Paul McFarland and Matt Grennier.  With the Rangers shorthanded with Derek Roy in the box and Scott Dickie on the bench, Michael Richards brought the Rangers back to within one with just over a minute remaining in regulation time, however there wouldn't be any close calls as the Rangers dropped the decision 4-3.

Chad McCaffery was a healthy scratch for the second time this weekend because of the numbers game.  16 year old Carlo DiRienzo started two games on a same weekend for the first time this season, and was also pulled for the first time this season by coach Peter DeBoer.  After starting the weekend with 4 powerplay goals on only 8 opportunities, the powerplay suffered a power outage going 0 for 5 in Brampton.  Rookie Brampton netminder: Kevin Couture had an excellent game, and stopped 37 of 40 shots as his Battalion were nearly outshot by a 2-1 margin (40-21).

After starting the game with O'Nabigon on the top line with Derek Roy and Gregory Campbell, DeBoer moved the big winger to the second line, replacing him with Rafal Martynowski in the third period.  O'Nabigon fought with Brampton's Erik Schwanz and scored a big victory to the delight of many Rangers fans in attendance.  Both George Halkidis (0-2) and Michael Richards (1-1) scored two points a piece for the Rangers.