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Sloppy showdown in Guelph goes down to the wire


Rangers one point closer to clinching Hamilton Spectator Trophy


Penner as he had to much of the night, looking through many legs trying
to find the puck, in a game where scrambly play was the order of the night.
 

It wasn't the ideal result that many Rangers fans both at home watching on television and at the arena might have envisioned, but the Rangers didn't go home empty-handed.  The Rangers scored twice, once late in the second period and a second goal in the third to comeback from a 2-goal deficit against their arch-rivals, the Guelph Storm.  Aside from their comeback the Rangers proved to the Storm's top netminder: Andrew Penner, that they were capable of scoring against him late in the game, something that they've struggled with much of the season.  Forced to take home a single point for the overtime loss, but oh so close to taking two points and leaving the Storm without any piece of the pie late in the third as Andrew Penner was forced to make save after save in what was a wild scramble infront of the Guelph net right up until the buzzer sounded ending regulation time.

Simply put it was a sloppy game, and without some spectacular at times veteran netminding provided by overagers: Scott Dickie and Andrew Penner the game might well have gone into overtime tied 8-8 and not 3-3.  Still neither netminder, was acknowledged for their efforts by those responsible for handing out the three star selections, simply put netminders on either side are supposed to be spectacular in this intense season series.  With all of the crazy bounces, near empty nets, coast-to-coast saves, it was almost fitting that the Rangers managed to tie the game with a shot by: Derek Roy off of Jesse Boucher's foot which went past Penner and was allowed to stand because it was not directed in with a kicking motion.

The Rangers' powerplay was tough to gage, while it did not score in 8 opportunities, many of which were cut short with return penalties to the Rangers.  The Rangers looked dominant at times on the man-advantage and Penner had to be sharp, that as well as flopping around like a fish out of water while the Rangers shot at will.  The Storm powerplay didn't look as impressive but on the overall where it counts on the scoresheet did net 2 goals in 8 opportunities.  Brett Trudell the game's second star was heavily involved in the action, scoring twice, one of those on the powerplay and with time winding down in the third period hit a Ranger from behind on the end boards behind the Rangers' net, prompting retaliation from George Halkidis, who landed several hard uppercuts as the two hit the ice, Halkidis was given an instigator negating the Rangers' powerplay.

The last time a team snapped a 7 or more game winning streak, the Rangers pounded them 5-0 on home ice, perhaps that fate lies infront of the Storm who will visit the Aud on Friday, and much like that 5-0 win over the London Knights the Rangers will be playing infront of a national audience on CTV Sportsnet.  More importantly the Rangers' with a win would wrap up first place overall and the Hamilton Spectator Trophy on home ice infront of what is sure to be the biggest crowd of the season in Kitchener.  The Rangers need only a single point to claim that first overall spot along with home advantage throughout the playoffs.  Rafal Martynowski's second period goal, was his 20th of the season making him the 7th Ranger with twenty or more goals this season.  Ranger fan favorite: Ryan Thompson was barely seen on this night, thought it would appear that the Rangers have had enough of him for a season after the last visit to Guelph.  The loss gives the Rangers only one opportunity, in Plymouth to tie the OHL record for road wins in a season (24) set by the Ottawa 67's.
 
 

Exceptional game night photography done by: Duct Tape.
 

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