|Rangers continue to roll with
7th straight win
The Rangers who were beaten by the Sting in January amidst team suspensions to both Derek Roy and Gregory Campbell were out for a little revenge for one of the more embarassing losses on home ice since the home opener gone wrong which resulted in a 5-0 loss to Windsor. This time it was the Sting that were stung as the Rangers handed the Sting their third loss in four meetings that the teams have had thus far this year. With the Sting only trailing the powerful Plymouth Whalers in the very competitive West division, they are a very worthy foe, but failed to prove their worth against the Rangers who are ranked first overall in the OHL, and after this victory only one win shy of clinching first overall. The win also brought the Rangers to within one road win of making OHL history for victories away from home (24) established in 1998-'99 by the Ottawa 67's who more importantly took home the Memorial Cup title as well.
The Rangers as they did the night before against the Owen Sound Attack got off to a slow start trailing both on the scoreboard 1-0 on a Kris Newbury goal, and on the shot clock a decisive 10-4. But as they did on the previous night the Rangers' specialty units took to center stage and in the end accounted for all of the 3 goal differential. The Rangers' revamped powerplay struck for 2 goals for the second straight night and as has become the habit the penalty kill threw blanks at the Sting. The Sting went 0 for 7 on the man-advantage and Marcus Smith with only his 2nd goal of the season, hit the Sting where it really hurt shorthanded with an unassisted goal. The 7 successful penalty kills brings the team's totals up to 27 successful penalty kills, upping the team's percentage on the kill to a season-high: 88.3%. The powerplay markers were scored by two Rangers' forwards who have been a little goal starved of late: Evan McGrath and more notably: Nathan O'Nabigon who has been marred in a slump since scoring 11 goals in 11 games around Christmas time.
The Rangers' 4-goal outburst in the 2nd period was started by Adam Keefe who is better know for turning the tide with his fists, Andre Benoit continued to up his lead in the defenseman goal-scoring race with his 22nd goal, which betters runner up: Dennis Wideman by 2, Benoit has opened up a 7-point lead in the defender point race over Kingston's Brian Rodney. The Rangers outshot the Sting 18-11 in the second period, and it wasn't until the Rangers led 6-2 in the third before the Sting finally got things back on track.
Unfortunately the first matchup between the
Rangers and nearly equally powerful Sting both teams having relatively
full lineups may have come at a time when wins are less meaningless.
The Rangers need only win one of their next four games to clinch home advantage
throughout the playoffs, while the Sting on the other hand are now officially
eliminated from competiting for their divisional title and only require
two points in their next four games to clinch 3rd overall in the conference.
The Rangers' current 7 game winning streak is only dwarfed by their 8 game
winning streak which took place between mid-October and early November
finally ending in London on November 9th. The Rangers have 2 road
games in Guelph on Tuesday and in Plymouth on Saturday needing 2 wins to
establish their own mark in the league for road victories.