Rafal Martynowski and Brampton netminder: Darren Machesney await a point shot,
while Adam Keefe attempts to escape from the net.
With the Rangers back in action for the first time on a Friday night, things did get a little spicy when they encountered their former Midwestern division rivals, the Brampton Battalion. For the first time in three exhibition games, the Rangers started to indulge themselves in a little fighting. First, Nick Duff the team's only veteran defender, took on Battalion veteran defender: Tyler Leggo. Then early in the third during a rather large melee, which created penalties for 5 players on the ice, big 6'6" rookie Boris Valabik squared off with fellow rookie: Robert Heickert, the more entertaining of the two bouts for Rangers' fans. To reduce fighting and in general chaos durnig the exhibition schedule the OHL has mandated automatic game misconducts for those who do fight. Unfortunately for the Rangers, this meant that the services of two of their most offensively gifted defenders would be lost for the third period. It really hurt the Rangers, who in the late going were reduced to a three man rotation of: Lashoff, Heshmatpour and Pepe, since Daniel Larocque struggles somewhat offensively. Fatique did play a factor on the blueline during the dying minutes.
Much like the Rangers did, the night before in Barrie, the Battalion got off to a very quick start on Matt Leduc who was playing infront of an Aud home crowd for the first time ever. Defenders: Tyler Leggo, and Martin Lojek put the Rangers down two goals early. Fortunately the Rangers' first round pick in the CHL import draft readying a point blast to best Machesney on the powerplay. Valabik, a relative unknown, now leads all Rangers' defenders with 4 points (1-3) in three exhibition games. Anthony Pototschnik, an impressive invitee scored his second goal, and at this point has many of the Rangers' faithful believing that he could sneak onto the team, that knoted the score at two goals a piece in the early going during the second period.
With the score knotted at 2, the Rangers ran into some bad luck, Geordie Michie was just finished serving a penalty for slashing when a pass found it's way directly infront of the penalty box, which was in the offensive zone during the second. The officials ruled that the clearing pass had been redirected by one of the Rangers putting Michie onside despite the appearance of a two-line pass. Michie had to earn everything from that point, with a Rangers' defender drapped all over him holding him, he managed to poke the puck through the legs of Leduc for what was a fairly weak looking goal. The Rangers would gain a measure of revenge on Geordie Michie after his hitting from behind penalty put the Battalion down two men, Paul McFarland scored. Patrick Sweeney would conclude the second period scoring just after the midway point of the period, during another Brampton break, he launched the puck top corner on a prone: Matt Leduc.
The Rangers pressed hard for the equalizer in the third. Chris Clayton appeared to have finished off the Rangers by depositing the puck in the empty net with a minute and a half remaining in regulation, however the Rangers charged up ice and McGrath and Martynowski combined to bring the Rangers back to within one. With time winding down Ryan Bowness found the Rangers' empty net with only 6 seconds on the clock.
Cam Fergus missed the game after an injury
in Barrie. For the second straight home game, the Rangers dropped
a 6-4 decision, allowing 3 empty net goals in that time span. Adam
Keefe continued to serve as captain. The Rangers and Battalion finished
the game with 32 shots on goal each. For Matt Leduc it was his first
action as a Ranger. He showed some flashes of brilliance, and speed
especially down on the ice, he looks and played like a 17-year-old Joey
Biasucci, which is coincidental, since Joey played for the Battalion at
that age, and because Biasucci's tight back is what enabled Leduc to get
the Friday night start.