|2nd straight overtime triumph
in Ottawa puts the 67's on the ropes
Through the first three games of the series the Rangers prided themselves
on stumping the league’s dynamic duo – Corey Locke and Matt Foy, both of
whom scored over 60 goals during the regular season and pace all postseason
scorers as well. Corey Locke, the league’s MVP, had but one goal
to show for all of his efforts in games 1 through 3, his linemate: Matt
Foy assisted on that goal
Things would change, for the 67’s they would have to change. Matt Foy and Corey Locke would have to produce in order for Ottawa to get back into the series which they now trailed 2-1. Another aspect of the game which had to change was the team’s inability to score with the man advantage. The Rangers who proudly led the OHL in penalty killing this season, were enjoying a 12 for 12 mark in killing off Ottawa powerplays. Corey Locke did what the Rangers feared most filling the net 3 times for a natural hattrick, by the 10:43 mark of the second period. Two of those goals were on the 67’s first two powerplay opportunities, snapping their 0 for 12 mark on the man advantage, the 67’s finished the night 2 for 5 on the powerplay including one which was exactly one minute in length during the first overtime, negated by a Matt Foy goaltender intereference penalty.
While a hattrick effort from any of the 20 players on the bench is to be commended, it should be noted that hockey is a team sport and in order for any team to be successful they cannot be reliant on any one player to fill the net. Unfortunately, the goal scoring wealth has not been shared in Ottawa overly well during the last two games of the series. The good news for 67’s fans is that Locke has 4 goals in that span, the bad news is that the other 17 players on the bench have posted a giant goose egg during the same timeframe. The goals that were coming from the 67’s second, third and fourth lines have stopped flowing in and suddenly the spotlight is cast on some of Ottawa’s lesser lights whom will have to prove their worth in order for the 67’s to continue.
A 3-1 lead only seems fitting for the Rangers who dominated game’s
one and three on home ice, before taking their show to the road posting
a pair of overtime wins in Ottawa, in each game either team could have
been victorious. It’s the Rangers dominance in overtime which differentiates
them best from the 67’s. During the two overtimes in Ottawa the Rangers
have outshot the 67’s by
Unlike in the last game in Ottawa which went into the second period scoreless, with close cheacking and a minimal amount of powerplays to each team, The Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead, not unlike in their previous two visits to Ottawa leads would prove to become things of the past and often not the present. The 67’s struck back, Corey Locke jumped at two more opportunities and the 67’s led 3-2, just prior to the end of the second period, Michael Richards for the Rangers knotted up the game at three a piece.
The game in regulation alone was worth more than the price of admission. Overtime would not disappoint, for the first time in the postseason since being defeated by the Windsor Spitfires in 1999 in a one game playoff that the Rangers and for that matter their opposition ventured through the first overtime period without scoring. 5 minutes, 50 seconds into the second overtime a seeing eye wrist shot from George Halkidis slipped through the five hole leaving the remnants of a 5,800 plus crowd quiet and in shock. The silence was only broken up by scattered Rangers’ fans who cheered with jubilation in their voices. The win was very similar to the series clinching game that the Otters and their fans enjoyed in the previous season against the Barrie Colts in the OHL finals.
For Halkidis the goal was nothing short of redemption after a defensive
lapse nearly led to an Adam Smyth breakaway goal during the first overtime.
The puck ricocheted violently off of the inside of the post stick side
and the Rangers dodged a bullet during the first overtime. With a
bouncing puck at the blueline Halkidis got tangled up on his way after
Smyth, a straight arm later and he was in the clear. Marcus Smith
desperately tried but in the end failed to catch Adam Smyth who’s speed
and talent are often caught in
For the second straight night, the Derek Roy show took over. Roy wowed Ottawa fans with his ability to keep the puck on a string while the Rangers were in the offensive zone. Roy’s continued spinning, and movement of the puck with both his stick and feet made him a constant target for Ottawa defenders, one that they often did not succeed in hitting.
Mensator had another excellent game for the 67's and Scott Dickie was kept busy throughout regulation but infrequently in overtime as the Rangers seemed to carry the play. Mensator made several game savers, many of which occured in the dying minutes of regulation, those who played infront of him all night long were also to be commended. Rodney Bauman took a post in the face while attempting to tie up a Rangers' forward on the way to the net. Lou Dickenson too a point shot off of the knee, infact the 52 shots directed at the net by the Rangers hardly reflect just how many shots that they directed at the Ottawa goal. Scott Dickie aside from a flair for the somewhat specatuclar which Rangers' fans have witnessed all postseason long, also managed to thwart a two man clear breakaway after a horrible offensive zone miscommunication by the Rangers. Unfortunately those two on the break were the league's top scorers: Matt Foy and Corey Locke who had a chance to put the game out of reach, the puck bounced on the bad ice and the rest is history, Dickie came out to challenge and was rewarded making the save in a very awkward sliding action. In overtime Dickie would benefit from a shot that trickled off of the post landing on the line refusing to enter the net. The 67's actually jumped off of the bench signalling a goal before a quick conference between Brad Beer and the goaltending judge ended the celebration early.
The Rangers’ road record has been run up to 8-1, that only loss (3-2)
in Plymouth during game 4 in the series against the Whalers. The
Rangers overtime record improves to 3-2, (2-0 on the road and 1-2 when
playing on home ice.) The Rangers last one three consecutive playoff
games prior to the third game of the series against the Guelph Storm.
Special thanks to: Duct
Tape for the excellent game night photography.