|Veterans: Roy and Dickie lead
Rangers back in the third
The Erie Otters continued their struggles and continued their losing streak against the Rangers, the once proud once OHL Champions who racked up a 13-3 record against the Rangers have continued to be victimized, and lost their 6th of the season and 7th straight head-to-head matchup against the Rangers. The loss dropped the Otters to last place in the Midwestern division for the first time this season and also out of the playoff picture with the Saginaw Spirit. DiRienzo who was starting in back-to-back games for the first time this season, played well against the Otters a couple of weeks earlier at home in a 11-2 Rangers triumph. Carlo wasn't overly busy in that game and couldn't be faulted when the Otters did score their two goals. The Otters appeared to have turned the tables on the Rangers when they scored the opening goal of the game only 2 minutes, and 50 seconds into the game. Blue chip Leaf prospect: Carlo Coliaicovo beat DiRienzo with a weak wrister and T.J. Aceti frustrated Rangers shooters leaving them scoreless after one, for the first time in 6 tries this season. The first period was very tight-checking as the two teams attempted to feel each other out. The Rangers were short forwards missing: Clarkson, McFarland, and McCaffery meanwhile the Otters were smarting on the blueline without pesky: Chris Campoli, the Otters after the loss to the Rangers find themselves winless in 9 games.
Along with being close-checking the first period was also very chippy, lots of slashing, hacking and the ocassional punch behind the play. These two teams do not like each other and fought a record amount of times last season. This game only featured on fight which was dominated by Rangers penalty leader: Thomas Harrison, over Erie's: Alex Karaulchuk. The Otters for the first time in four Saturday night home dates were playing infront of a crowd lesser than standing room only, the 4,200+ weren't treated to the most entertaining of matchups, while the Otters had the lead they just continued to ice the puck, the third period was probably worth the price of admission with the game tied the Otters poured on the offense but failed to beat Dickie who would relieve DiRienzo after two periods.
Peter Kanko would finally get the Rangers on the board in the early second period, with a powerplay just expired Kanko would find himself to the left of the crease alone with the puck and a half empty net. Aceti was hung out to dry and made a desperate leap but was unable to stop the Rangers sniper from scoring his 28th goal. Rice would reply for the Otters later in the period tipping a Chris Eade point shot past DiRienzo into the top corner of the net and the Otters had their second lead of the night. The Rangers who's focus has changed radically since the beginning of the season to become more win oriented replaced Carlo DiRienzo with the veteran netminder Scott Dickie for the beginning of the third period. Immediately Otters fans got on Dickie chanting his name, as they did in the home opener as he hit the ice. The change did give the Rangers some confidence. Gregory Campbell stuffed the puck past Aceti at the post, a sharp one-timer setup by Andre Benoit which took its time finding it's way over the line. After the Campbell goal the Otters would press, putting 11 shots on Dickie, who at one point wandered out into the high-slot in order to make a save with the home-town Otters buzzing around the Rangers' zone. The Otters even killed off a short two-man advantage, unfortunately for the OHL's coldest team, the Rangers brought the deep chill late in the game. Rafal Martynowski beat Aceti with only 1:03 left in regulation and the Rangers took what looked to be a sure point away from the Otters. With T.J. Aceti out for the extra attacker the Otters struggled to maintain the puck in the offensive zone, both teams spent their timeouts after the Martynowski goal.
Roy paced the Rangers' scoring with 2 assists.
Scott Dickie was forced to make as many saves in one period as Carlo DiRienzo
did in two periods of play, the Rangers only outshot the Otters by one,
that margin being achieved by the winning goal. Paul McFarland sat
out his second game of his 2 game suspension. The Canadian national
anthem was sung with the words "with glowing light, we see thee rise...."
rather than the traditional 'glowing hearts.' The Rangers
are now 17-3-2 against teams in the Midwest divsion, but only 20-9-2-1
against the remainder of the OHL.
Exceptional game night photography
done by: Duct Tape.