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Halkimania defeats the Lockeness monster in epic battle

2nd straight overtime triumph in Ottawa puts the 67's on the ropes

David Clarkson attempts to deflect a point shot past netminder: Lukas Mensator.

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 
(his only point in the series) which gave the 67’s a short-lived 1-0 lead in game three of the series.

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 
a combined mark of 25-9 (22-9) on this night.  The task for the 67’s is simply daunting, win 3 games which will take place in the time span of 4 days, with games 5 in Kitchener and game 6 in Ottawa on back to back nights.  Coach Brian Kilrea must find a way to defeat the Rangers’ strong transition game, which has seen them enjoy nice crisp passes up the ice and into the zone.  Equally as important for the 67’s is penetration into the Rangers’ zone, the Rangers have been extremely effective at closing down all of the passing lanes of the 67’s.  Probably the greatest asset for the Rangers is their two-headed monster 
The Rangers call their first and second lines, two dominant lines which seem to pick things up independent of what the other line is producing.  Derek Roy's top unit which includes Gregory Campbell and the always feisty: David Clarkson worked so hard all night it is only fitting that they were on the ice at the game ended at 5:50 of the second overtime.

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 
the shadow of his physical play.  Halkidis, was brought over to the Rangers early in the season to improve the Rangers’ back end, with some scoring credentials, has done just that, especially with his first goal of the postseason on this night, a goal which vaulted him to 1st star status.  His 16 points (1-15) leads the Rangers defence, along with Andre Benoit (his new defense partner also 1-15) in the scoring during this postseason.

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.