|Roy finally held off of the
scoresheet, but others step it up a notch
The Rangers have been a one-two punch team all season long. If they don't knock you out with the first fist, the next one isn't too far behind. The Rangers seemed to have been indifferent all season long whether they played on home ice or on the road, they picked up 50 points both on the road and inside the friendly and always full confinds of the Memorial Auditorium this season. If the Rangers won't beat you on Kitchener ice they'll find a way to beat you in your building, which is exactly what the Rangers did in Guelph and throughout the first two rounds of the OHL's postseason. In four road dates the Rangers have yet to lose in fact they have outscored the Storm 10-3 in the two games combined in Guelph while tying the Storm in total goals with 8 goals for each game in one goal wins and losses for either team in Kitchener. The second one-two punch is the Rangers' top two lines and magnificent centers. They have relied heavily on Derek Roy whom entered the game having recorded a goal or assist in all of the Rangers 7 postseason matchups, for a total of 15 points is evidence of Roy's dominant play. The Storm have seen Roy score 7 points in only three playoff games against them and shutting Derek Roy down was a big part of the Storm game plan. The unfortunate reality for the crew from the Royal City is the Rangers second unit, who put a duece on the board in the second period for a 2-0 lead, Richards who recorded an assist on the powerplay scored the eventual winner late in the second period, and was named the game's first star.
Peter Kanko opened the game's scoring in the second period besting netminder: Andrew Penner on a wraparound. Kanko drove to the net and simply beat Penner over to the far post. It is a play that has been tried by many Rangers this season but has had limited success. Kanko, the game's third star like Richards finished with a goal and an assist. After a scoreless and very anxious first the Rangers lept out to a 2-0 in the middle frame. Daniel Paille scored on the powerplay due to an undisciplined penalty to Steve Eminger. The turning point came several minutes after Paille's goal as the Rangers proved that two can play on the man-advantage. Mr. Reliable: Gregory Campbell broke the back of the collective Guelph Storm with a goal with 4 seconds remaining in the second period during a Rangers' powerplay. The goal was Campbell's 9th in 8 playoff games.
After successfully killing yet another Steve Eminger undisciplined infraction in the third period, Matt Grennier found the empty net on a banked clear to seal the victory for the Rangers. The goal was the first for anyone on his line, a strong line which has come very close many times. Grennier opened the scoring in the first meeting of the Storm and Rangers last season. This was his first playoff goal since. And if there were any doubts as to who was victorious in this game, they were quickly laid to rest when hundreds of Rangers fans piled into the mail foyer with a booming: GO RANGERS GO chant which with the echo in the mall was painstakingly loud.
Steve Eminger who must be suffering some residual effects of an upper body injury has become the target of the Storm, and their tormenting efforts have started to pay dividends as Eminger took not one, but two completely unecessary penalties. Derek Roy, was shut down however for the first time in the series but still managed to head several impressive rushes for the Rangers.
Matt Manias, and Chad McCaffery continue to
be healthy scratches. Evan McGrath appeared to have a leg injury
after an awkward 3rd period collesion along the boads. He stayed
on the bench for the entire game, raising a few questions about his health.
Adam Keefe did an admirable job of replacing McHrath on the top line.
Special thanks to: Duct Tape
for the excellent game night photography.