|Kanko, Richards no longer goal-less
In life, apparently you can only count on death and taxes. The Rangers have had a significantly more promising thing to count on during this season's playoff run, and it has been their prized winger: Gregory Campbell scoring in each of the games this postseason. Fans from Plymouth Michigan have been forever thanking the Rangers for their "donation" of Ryan Ramsay, suddenly the tables may have turned to the two teams who finished 1st and 2nd overall in the entire Western conference. Perhaps the Whalers faithful might cherish the production of: Campbell considering the fact that their Whalers to date have only scored 5 goals in their first two playoff dates. Campbell's point totals aren't eye popping, he only has 7 points, but a goal each game goes a long distance, and if the playoff production continues the Rangers will also go a long way in the postseason.
Each of the Rangers 20 goal scorers found the back of the net with the exception of Derek Roy who recorded two assists on the night. The depth of the Rangers suddenly reveiled its ugly face and Storm fans gasped at the site which through the latter stages of the first period and throughout the second continued to give the hundreds of Rangers' fans in attendance reason to cheer and at times jeer the Storm and their veteran netminder. Chants of "Pen-ner, Pen-ner" rung most prodominantly in and around section 113 close to the Rangers' bench as the big overaged netminder was left helpless again and again as the Rangers completed passes and filled the net, very reminicent of the Rangers demise in game 3 in Guelph one year prior.
Sure the Rangers had depth but in a big way men like Richards and Kanko had to prove that they were playoff worthy. Each had played in 9 postseason games and neither had a goal, things could have changed for Kanko in the opener, however his shorthanded goal was called back, in this game they both made little mistake while in on odd man rushes and very similar to all of the other Rangers goals, Andrew Penner could not be faulted. Richards and Kanko, who was named 1st star each taillied a goal and an assist each.
The story of the game was a very loose Guelph defense who permitted the Rangers to continually march into the Storm zone on two-on-ones. The Rangers did what any competent team would do is first, force the errors that would lead to the odd-man advantages and second covert a high percentage of these opportunities even netminder: Scott Dickie got in on the act, quickly firing the puck up ice while the Storm were changing collecting his first playoff assist. Dickie was also used on the penalty as a third defensemen, similar to the way that the New Jersey Devils of the NHL use netminder: Martin Broduer. Aside from clearing puck and starting passes, Dickie's strong play and 44 shots led to the frustration and downfall of the Storm. Many of those shots came from the perimeter, however there were a handful of sensational stops between the two Guelph goals, especially early.
Both the Storm and the Rangers got started with two-man advantages. Guelph scored after George Halkidis was forced to interfere with one of the Storm players while the Storm had both an empty net and a prone Scott Dickie to shot at, somehow they failed to score but the Rangers were assessed a penalty and left two men down for 1:46. The Rangers appeared to be doing an amazing job of killing the two penalties, they cleared the puck several times prior to being scored on just as the first of the two penalties was about to expire. Cox returned the favour to the Rangers later on in the first period. As the Storm did the Rangers did take their time in converting, but throughout the penalties had the puck deep in the Storm and set up many close chances prior to finally scoring. Campbell's one-timer on the powerplay seemed to energize the Rangers who have already scored 3 powerplay goals in only 10 opportunities this series. The Storm on the other hand were afforded 9 opportunites by Carmen Cox, resulting in both Storm goals, and two of the chances were two-man advantages, the Storm's second goal took place just as one penalty had expired.
The road win balanced the Rangers record at
3-0 both on home ice and on the road. The Rangers have been scored
on first in all three road wins. The home loss for the Storm was
their first in four home dates during the postseason. With a defeat
to the Whalers at the hands of the London Knights, the Rangers remain the
only undefeated team in the postseason at 6-0. Because of the rather
large lead that the Rangers lept out to in the late second period and early
third period the Rangers were able to use Paul McFarland as a center and
start granting Thomas Harrison a regular shift on the blueline, Harrison
did a take a 4-minute minor for spearing Ryan Thompson.
Special thanks to: Duct Tape
for excellent game night photography