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Horribly small crowd witnesses terrible game

Big detour sign appears on the road to Quebec City

Ryan Ramsay plays the puck in the corner as Benoit and Grennier patrol
the front of the net.

The smallest Ranger crowd since the beginning of the season witnessed what may have been the worst Rangers effort of the season, and despite that, the Rangers only managed to fall 3-1 (with an empty net goal).  The dissapointingly small crowd of 4835 often booed the Rangers for what they preceived as a lack of effort since it appeared as if the Rangers, and not the Plymouth Whalers had just finished a seven game war with the pesky London Knights.  Suddenly the Rangers don't seem overly invulnerable but as coach Peter DeBoer keeps on saying, members of the team could have not expected to roll through the playoffs without adversity.

The Rangers did stumble upon some luck in the first period as Andre Benoit while playing forward on the penalty unleashed a slapshot along the ice from a terrible locaiton which gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead.  At that point in the game the Rangers were already being heavily outshot by the Whalers en route to a 40-24 advantage overall.  Because of some very strong netminding by Scott Dickie, the Rangers managed to hold the lead into the intermission, they even successfully managed to kill off a two man advantage which lasted over one minute.

The story of the night wasn't the Whalers powerplay which went 0 for 3 but the Rangers often booed powerplay which went 0 for 6 many times struggling to leave their own zone.  The Rangers simply were not prepared for this kind of opposition, and at times looked as if they were playing in slow motion against a very strong skating team in the Whalers.  The second period was easily the worst of the trio for the Rangers, they were outshot 18-7 in the dominant period for the Whalers and outscored 2-0.  Sean Thompson opened the scoring and Chris Thorburn threaded a shot through the five-hole late in the period, which held up as the winning goal.  In the third period Wisniewski would be credited with a goal that the Rangers actually deflected into their own empty net after a timeout with under one minute remaining in regulation.

The game was probably the most chippy to date of all of the Rangers' postseason matchups.  There was much in the way of stickwork and extra punches and elbows going on behind the play.  The loss, gives the Rangers a 4-2 record on home ice, the Rangers remain undefeated on the road 4-0 during the postseason.  Game 2 is in Plymouth at 7:30pm.

Special thanks to: Duct Tape for the excellent game night photography.