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Exhibition-like game in Plymouth still entertaining

Rangers achieve 100-point milestone in Plymouth with overtime loss

The Rangers finally stuffed the puck past Weber, but Jesse Boucher was
assessed a goaltender interference penalty on the play.

On Friday night the Rangers accomplished a feat which hadn't been done since 1989, winning the league title.  The next night in Plymouth the Rangers broke 100 points for the first time since 1984 when the Rangers won the regular season title which earned the team the right to host the Memorial Cup that season.  The game with the Whalers was more like an exhibition game than it was like a classic matchup of the two best teams in the OHL.  Derek Roy, Gregory Campbell, Steve Eminger, and George Halkidis were absent fromt the Rangers lineup and snipers like Ramsay were absent along with others from the Whalers lineup.  Both coaches elected to start their backup netminders.  For DiRienzo it meant his first start since an embarassing 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Kingston Frontenacs on February 7th.  However, since that start DiRienzo has had two very impressive relief performances against both the Otters and Attack where he shutout both teams.

Powerplay goals were the order of the day.  First the Whalers struck on two powerplays in the first period.  John Mitchell and David Liffiton scored to give the home town Whalers a 2-0 lead.  The Rangers appeared to have scored (as seen above) during a goalmouth scramble later on in the first but were denied as official: Scott Hutchinson ruled that the netminder: Jeff Weber, formerly of the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds was interfered with, and it resulted in a Whalers powerplay that Plymouth did not convert on.

Andre Benoit spearheaded the Rangers' attack, he assisted on both Rangers powerplay goals, the first coming off of the stick of David Clarkson in the second period and the second coming from Rafal Martynowski who tied the game midway through the third period.  The Rangers couldn't score on their biggest opportunity of the night when Jimmy Gagnon took a hitting from behind major, resulting in a 5-minute powerplay which spanned over the intermission and was uninterrupted by any Rangers penalties.

The Rangers as they did in Guelph earlier in the week were dominate in the third period but simply failed to finish and Jeff Weber who was the game's third star was a big part in that.  The win delighted the 3745 fans, the majority of whom were there until the exciting end of a game that their Whalers arguably let get away before snatching it back in the extra time.  T.J. Eason saw limited playing time as Matt McCann, Nick Nuff, and Matt Manias all received a good portion of ice time as coach DeBoer wanted to give some of his lesser experienced defenders some ice time.

Exceptional game night photography done by: Duct Tape.