Oshawa netminder: Ryan Gibb dives as a redicted shot goes wide. Evan
McGrath watches from infront of the net.
Total recall for the Kitchener Rangers and Oshawa Generals as the two teams collided for the second straight year, the day prior to labour day for the opening of each of the two team's exhibition schedules. The Rangers propelled by just over 2500 fans got off to a very quick start when an excellent point shot by Matt Lashoff was tipped by Mike Chmielewski past rookie Oshawa netminder: Ryan Gibb who had no chance on the play. Chielewski, known for setting up office infront of the opposition's net, banged in a rebound to give the Rangers their second lead after Justin Wallingford scored for the Generals. Chmielewski is no stranger to quick goals. During only his second game as a bantam aged call up during the 2002-'03 season he was quick to pot two goals against the Toronto Majors in a 7-4 Rangers victory. Continued scoring by Chmielewski will only help a potent lineup which does have an incredible 199 goals returning this season. The Rangers fired shots from all over the offensive zone throughout the 20+ shot first period, and the defenders weren't shy about joining the rush.
The persistent Generals who weren't overly impressive but also not as sloppy as the Rangers were pressed and eventually found their way. Late in the first period Evan Kotsopoulos vicitimized Rangers first rounder: Deveraux Heshmatpour and went in to score on Carlo DiRienzo, who without being overly critical of his performance, did not look sharp through 60 minutes. Oshawa gained their first lead early in the second period, when Mike Kavanagh, arguably the top forward on the ice during the game scored. Daniel Larocque, a rookie hopeful defender whom like Chmielewski was also drafted in the 10th round in 2002 scored to bring the Rangers back even. Larocque is not though of as a defender with too much of an offensive upside, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him buldge the twine, later on in the game, he was given offensive opportunities but failed to generate much in the way of quality scoring chances.
Adam Berti who played in the fan appreciation game as a rookie last season replied to Larocque's goal quickly giving the Generals a lead which they would never relinquish. In the third period where the Rangers would again outshot the Generals, en route to 59-30 totals, the teams would trade goals before Justin Donati filled the empty Rangers net with time winding down. Anthony Potoschnik, scored for the Rangers after Kotsopoulos potted his second for the Generals. Things got crazy with under a minute left, Carlo DiRienzo left the net and tried to return in an invain effort to try to stop a shot on goal. The shot rang off of the post, eventually leading to another empty net opportunity for the Generals, this time on the powerplay after a too-many men penalty was assessed to the Rangers. Donati's empty netter was the second powerplay goal of the period for the Generals.
Ryan Gibb who is poised to backup starter: Chris Beckford-Tseu this season, after the trade of Kevin Druce looked extremely strong in goal for the Generals, and could not be faulted with any of the goals. There were several opportunities where he had to make second and third saves to keep the Rangers at bay. Mike Kavanagh, the General third selection in the 2003 draft played more like a veteran than most.
While Chmielewski did score two goals, the most dominant Rangers' forward appeared to be Paul McFarland, who wasn't rewarded with any points, but did have a very strong effort. Overager: Jesse Boucher, a former tier II sniper had several quality chances but failed to score. Matt Lashoff, recently acquired from the Soo Greyhounds in exchange for Matt Manias along with draft picks, was the most steady Rangers' defender. Lashoff made one excellent defensive play in the second period which may have prevented a goal, and should get most of the credit for the Rangers' first goal of the afternoon.
Chris Gravelding, the Rangers 2nd round selection
in the 2003 draft was a scratch with a hand injury. Adam Keefe who
has nearly 3 times as many career OHL games as any other player dressed
for the Rangers played the role of captain in the Rangers inaugural exhibition
game. Keefe who will be entering his 4th season in the OHL, was his
usual in-your-face self, and looked to drop the gloves on at least one
Special thanks to: Duct Tape for the excellent game night photography.