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Rangers take 3-0 series lead over Greyhounds

Dickie's netminding continues to be the story of the series

Gregory Campbell and Brad Staubitz collide with netminder: Adam
Munro during the Rangers' 2-1 victory over the Greyhounds.

In what was the best game of the series to date, the Soo raised their game and played with the Rangers. They came out fast creating 3 good chances in the first 2 minutes, but Scott Dickie continued his play from where he left off in game 2.  The Rangers held firm and came back into the game as it progressed, helped by a couple of Greyhound penalties.  Eminger dressed again, but only saw action on the power play.  With 14 seconds to go on the second penalty Clarkson took a tripping penalty to nullify the power play. The Soo pressured the Rangers net during their first power play mustering 3 shots on goal, but Dickie continued to bail the Rangers out, however it was not all one way traffic, with Keefe breaking away and hitting a post. The peppering of the iron work continued when in the 12th minute Richards also beat Munro, only to hear a loud clang as the puck hit the post.  Less than a minute later Martynowski broke in alone only for Munro to stone him. The period continued to be fast paced, hard hitting end to end action, with referee Beer letting the players play.  He could have assessed a number of minor penalties, but elected to only raise his arm when necessary facilitating a very fast paced game. At the end of a period which was 35 minutes in length the Rangers fired 7 shots in Munro's direction including 3 on a pair of powerplays, along with two posts, while the Soo sent 13 in the direction of Rangers' netminder: Scott Dickie whom had shut the Greyhounds out in a total of 7 straight periods, including 5 shots on two powerplays.

The second period was was similar to the first, only with the Rangers in the ascendancy.  At 1:14 Halkidis who had a busy night at both ends of the rink, pinched in off the point, a cross ice pass found him, but Munro got across and made a good save on his one- timer.  At 2:51 Carter who was winning face offs all night against Roy, won another face off from the left, pulling it back to Dobben who fired a low wrist shot past Dickie to give the Soo their first goal and lead of the series. The Soo continued to press with Dickie robbing Taticek and then Amodeo on the rebound. The Rangers also had their chances and at 10:07 the puck came back to Halkidis on the point whose low shot was tipped in front by McGrath to pull the Rangers even.  Back came the Soo and in the 18th minute they failed to hit the target on a 3 on 1, then hit the post on another opportunatety.  As the period was drawing to a close Marcus Smith let a point shot go from the right point which hit the post, the puck found its way back to Halkidis whose low shot was tipped 
in front by Campbell to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Again an excellent period from the spectaters point of view, fast paced and hard hitting, and for the first time in the series it included some scoring for the Greyhounds.  The period ran its course in only 35 minutes with the Rangers outshooting the Greyhounds for the only period of the game 17-1.  The Rangers put 4 shots on goal on a single man-advantage while the Hounds fired two shots in Dickie's direction while up a man, neither team would score while on the powerplay, a theme for the Greyhounds which has been nearly as daunting for the Greyhounds as their lack of scoring.

Evan McGrath gets his stick on a point shot which then
illudes: Adam Munro tying the game for the Rangers.

The Soo started the 3rd period like they did the first creating a number of good chances in the first 5 minutes, but the defense held their cool and Dickie shut the door.  In fact it wasn't until the 9th minute before the Rangers managed their first shot on goal.  The Rangers dogedly held on, but they also create an odd opportunatety for themselves O'Nabigon failing to find the target on a good cross ice pass.  As the period wore on the Rangers addopted a policy of hard fore-checking and dumping the puck back into the Soo 
end every chance they had, making it very difficult for the Soo to create any chances. With 1:48 to go there was a stopage in play and the crowd started to leave. With 35 seconds to go the Soo eventually managed to get the puck into the Ranger zone and pull Munro, but the Rangers held on to their lead and won the game 2-1. The period lasted 30 minutes including a Soo timeout, The Rangers were outshot embarassingly 11-3 in the final frame, one of those three shots was on the powerplay, the Greyhounds failed to generate any shots on goal during their critical powerplay midway through the period.

A great game in front of a dissappointingly small crowd 1897 fans which included about 10 Ranger fans who made the trip. Infact, the 1897 attendance figure represented the lowest attendance in 14 years in Sault Ste. Marie.  The Rangers played a good road game and the Soo played what you would expect for a home team, their best game of the series, despite missing Daley and Puntureri. The 
officals deserve a mention as they allowed the game to flow in what was a very charged atmosphere and allowed the teams to put on such a great display.  The Rangers last led a playoff series 3-0 in 1984, when they were in the midst of sweeping the London Knights 8-0 (4 games to none) in an 8-point Emms division semi-final series.

Special thanks to: Superfan for providing excellent long distance game night photography and to Hair Bear for the stellar game report live from up in the Soo.