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Another 5-4 nail bitter in Saginaw

Four point performance for Gregory Campbell

Gregory Campbell scored in his second straight game and
added 3 assists in the Rangers road victory.

The Rangers are the top ranked team in the OHL, and also lead the league in winning percentage despite a slight point disadvantage to the Ottawa 67's whom the Rangers were bested by last weekend.  Just try convincing Saginaw Spirit fans of this fact!  The Saginaw Spirit were trampled by the Owen Sound Attack 7-3 who have vaulted themselves into 6th place by going undefeated in 6 straight road games.  The Saginaw Spirit have caused headaches for the Rangers, headaches which may or may not be indicated by the team's 0-2-1-1 record against the Rangers.  The Rangers blew a 3-1 lead, tying the Spirit 3-3 in mid November on home ice, Tyson Kellerman who also started this matchup had the Rangers frustrated throughout the 65 minute affair, stopping 56 of 59 shots directed towards him.  In the two visits to Saginaw the Rangers have been victimized early only to comeback and win 5-4, in the last visit the Rangers required overtime to do so.  In that New Year's eve matchup the Rangers got themselves in a 2-0 hole only a few minutes into the game.  During this visit the Rangers were trailing 4-1 before the powerplay shifted things into high gear, scoring two quick goals one to end the first period and the other under a minute into the second to bring the Rangers back to within one.

Tyson Kellerman as he did in the 3-3 tie in Kitchener was forced to make many big stops and while he did slow the Rangers, he alone was not enough to stop them, he faced 47 shots in all.  Scott Dickie had a busy first period and had problems answering the bell facing 16 shots, and allowing 4 goals.  Perhaps it was more the team infront of him that threw a blanket over the Spirit and did not allow them too many chances in the final 40 minutes where Dickie was forced to make only 6 saves on 6 shots.  For the second time in two nights Rangers assistant training: Neil Hoch was fulfilling the duties of backup netminder on the bench sporting the number 31.  Derek Roy, who passed Trevor Gallant as the number 2 scorer in Kitchener Rangers history in Kingston scored the winning goal with 6:08 left on the clock in the third period leading the Rangers to victory, the goal was the 325th point of his career with the Rangers.

For the second straight night the Rangers employed Rafal Martynowski on the Rangers top line, members of the Rangers top line contributed in 4 of the 5 Rangers goals, making DeBoer's decision to juggle the hard working Martynowski up to that line look smart.  Not only that but Clarkson who fell victim to the swap has also scored in two consecutive games while playing on the Rangers third line with speedy center: Matt Grennier.  While the Rangers 1st and 3rd lines were moving along on this trip, unfortuantely the Rangers energetic 2nd line led by top scorer: Michael Richards has slowed, however members of the number 2 line still managed to accumulate 2 points on the 8 goals that that Rangers scored in the two games.

For the secodn straight game the Rangers were without Andre Benoit whom has proved to be an invaluable asset playing defense or forward.  The win for the Rangers was their 44 point on the road and 21st win on the road, the OHL record for road wins is owned by the the very team that the Rangers will be fighting for first place overall with: the Ottawa 67's who won 24 in '98-'99.  The Rangers only dressed 17 skaters, one short of the limit of 18.  Chad McCaffery (knee) was not dressed along with: Evan McGrath and Carlo DiRienzo who were representing Ontario in the under-17 tournament.