|Controversy will be remembered
in otherwise great game
Both Scott Dickie and Paul Drew had strong games just prior to leaving the ice, those strong games would quickly evaporate into ugly memories for each netminder. Paul Drew whom struggled against the Rangers in game 2 of the series in Plymouth and came out strong in the first period while the Rangers continued where they had left off on the road, but several times failed to put the puck on goal which contributed to Drew's confidence. The Rangers' shots, 20 on the game were hardly indicative of the scoring chances that the team generated, especially in the first period where each team failed to score. In the later half of the second period Nathan O'Nabigon finally opened the scoring with a heavy shot that Paul Drew got a piece of, but couldn't quite keep out of the net. Exactly one minute later Gregory Campbell stripped the puck from Whalers defender: James Wisniewski while shorthanded and proceeded to walk around Drew depositing the puck into the goal. It was obvious that the Plymouth netminder was rattled, and Whalers head coach: Michael Vellucci, didn't waste time in giving Drew the hook. Jeff Weber started the third period and suddenly, Paul Drew was yanked for a 3rd time in only a 5 game span. The first of which came in London when the Knights took a 4-0 lead to the locker room on the Whalers, not looking back to force a 7th and deciding game.
Scott Dickie had a tremendous game, his name even appeared on the scoreboard as the Rogers Sportsnet number one star of the game, perhaps it was a bad omen for the Rangers with only 3 minutes left in regulation time. Dickie had a spectacular game, and suddenly things went bad and the 5,613 in attendance were silenced as a Martin Cizek clear in bounced down and directly between the legs of Dickie bringing the Whalers to within one goal with just over 31 seconds remaining in regulation. Still smarting from the flukey goal, Scott Dickie was faced with one of the most lethal defensemen in the league: Cole Jarrett who bested the bewildered netminder with a wrist shot targetted for the top corner, unfortunately for the Whalers and probably many of those watching on television the goal left the stick of Jarrett as time was expiring. Unfortunately this season, last second magic for the Whalers against veteran netminder: Scott Dickie isn't anything overly new. In March, Nick Vernelli broke up a Scott Dickie shutout with only 22 seconds on the clock with a shot which not unlike the flukey one that fooled him on this night, that he'd like back.
The Rangers and Whalers each took their time in starting to fill the opposition's net with pucks. Nathan O'Nabigon who has been on a tear since finishing a career year in a very dismal fashion. He scored the opening goal over 12 minutes into the second period, the goal was his 4th in 4 games including the series clincher against the rival Guelph Storm in overtime of game 5 in Kitchener. Only one minute later Gregory Campbell who was pointless in his previous three games would beat Drew while shorthanded. The goal would eventually chase Drew, who indirectly was also replaced because of the Whalers lack of scoring. Having gone through a 5 period drought where they managed only one goal and that in a losing cause in Plymouth.
On a Whalers powerplay in the third period Cole Jarrett scored the first of what was nearly two goals on the night. A blast through traffic illuded Dickie. The Rangers would rebound though, on their own powerplay. Derek Roy burst into the zone pulling around Weber and sliding the puck under Weber's arm sending what was a rather tame Rangers crowd into a frenzy. The Rangers were heavily outshot in a third period which was for over ten minutes eventless. With 31 seconds left Cizek bounced a puck into the zone and luckily for the Whalers, through Dickie's pads. With time winding down James Wisniewski took a scenic route to a puck which just didn't have the legs for icing. His misjudgement would prove costly as Jarrett would launch a wrister into the net for what would have been his second goal of his game, instead official Brad Beer ruled (correctly) that time had expired and the Whalers were forced to leave the ice though not without protest. The remnants of the crowd of over 5,600 stayed watching anxiously for the official's ruling which involved both linesmen as well as the league mandated goal judge, they chanted "NO GOAL! NO GOAL" and cheered when Beer officially signaled that the goal would not count.
During Gregory Campbell's 3 game pointless
streak George Halkidis (0-12) leapt ahead of him in on the Rangers leaderboard,
Campbell's 10th goal of the postseason gives him a total of 11 points.
Marcus Smith left the game in obvious discomfort after a Chad LaRose slash
and would not return. There is concern about the 4th year defender
whom has arguably been the Rangers biggest steadying influnce on defense.
With the win the Rangers improve their home record in the postseason to
5-2, and retain home advantage, home ice has had little more value to the
Rangers than the last rotation of tape around one of Scott Dickie's goalsticks
actually has on his game. The Rangers have been unbeaten on the road
in 5 games, and have outscored their opponents by a combined mark of 16-4
in their last 3 road dates.
Special thanks to: Duct Tape
for the excellent game night photography.