|Amodeo first star in only return
match against former team
Mike Amodeo, known more for his fists in his four seasons in the league is now shifting the focus to offense, with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds in very tight in the bottom half of the Western conference. The victory enabled the Greyhounds to open up a 3 point advantage over the: Erie Otters who have struggled mightly of late and sit 9th in the conference. The end of the schedule will be especially hard for the Greyhounds with many inter-divisional matchups against some very strong western division teams. Amodeo was in on a pair of Greyhound goals which tied the game. In the first period he assisted on a Jeff Doyle goal, and in the third period he scored the tying goal with under one minute remaining in regulation time. Amodeo who has curtailed his fighting of late was an easy choice for first star after his goal after Jeff Carter's with under 6 minutes left stole a point away from the Kitchener Rangers who had already dropped out of top place overall and failed to keep pace with the Ottawa 67's who won on this night.
The Rangers went undefeated against the Greyhounds in the season series winning it 2-0-2, however both of those ties could have easily been Ranger victories with a few more bounces for the boys in blue. David Clarkson opened the scoring early in the first, Clarkson despite being moved off of the Roy line was able to produce immediately when reinserted on to the Rangers third line, of course his ordinary center: Evan McGrath was away at the under-17's on the East Coast. Also missing from the Rangers out east was backup netminder: Carlo DiRienzo, neither of the 'Hounds nor the Rangers had viable options as backups for this game. The Hounds were playing with a triple-A netminder: Kevin King on the bench and the Rangers countered with an even more unlikely: Neil Hoch, who traditionally is the team's assistant trainer, and was expected to fulfill a double-role over the two game weekend stint. The Greyhounds backup netminder: Joey Biasucci has had a season ending injury.
Jeffery Doyle of the Greyhounds tied the score at one a piece by the end of the first period. Greg Campbell added his 20th of the season and George Halkidis scored in the third period to give the Rangers what should have been an insurmountable third period lead of 3-1, however the Greyhounds stormed back, with a goal by Jeff Carter - a highly touted prospect for this June's NHL draft, and finally Mike Amodeo with veteran netminder: Adam Munro on the bench in favour of an extra attacker. The Greyhounds also dominated overtime outshooting the Rangers 7-3 in the extra five minutes, which didn't serve to decide a winner in this matchup. The tie for the Rangers was their first on the road this season, despite three previous visits to overtime, where the Rangers lost in Barrie, and each of the three netminders that the Rangers have employed this season: Matt Harpwood, Carlo DiRienzo and Scott Dickie recorded overtime victories in: Belleville, Saginaw and Owen Sound respectively. The tie might hinder the Rangers' quest for making OHL history for most road victories in one season, a record established by the Ottawa 67's en route to a Memorial Cup with 24 wins in '98-'99, the Rangers have 20 wins, but could have had 21 with only 5 road dates remaining. The loss of this point could also prove critical in the race for first overall with the Ottawa 67's as well as the quest for a 100 point season.
Defenseman: Andre Benoit did not make the trip as he was fighting
flu-like symptoms. Rafal Martynowski replaced David Clarkson on the
Rangers top unit, in an attempt to shake things up for the line which was
completely shut down the previous game in Ottawa. The game was the
only matchup where the team will see former Ranger: Mike Amodeo barring
a playoff showdown with the Greyhounds, with Amodeo's inspired play against
his former teammates, it's probably a good thing too!