Andre Benoit extended his scoring streak to three games, although in somewhat less spectacular fashion to the Rangers' previous two games. Benoit assisted on the Rangers' second powerplay goal of the night. Kevin Druce, Sault Ste. Marie's new 19-year-old starter, acquired from the Oshawa Generals stole the show on this night. His 51 stops on the incredible 54 shots directed at him made him any easy choice for first star honors. The shot totals could have been much uglier however Druce was playing his angles so well in the third that many Rangers' shots found their way wide of the goal. Including one spectacular opportunity for Rafal Martynowski late in the third period when we picked up a rebound skated in on Druce who was in a comprimised position after the first stop, needless to say Martynowski's hard wrister didn't result in him scoring his first goal of his season.
The Ranger powerplay got things rolling for the Rangers as it did during the Rangers' first two games. Michael Richards scored his second in two games since returning from the Flyers in the first period on the powerplay. During a scramble during a powerplay in the second period, David Clarkson was able to bank a puck past Druce regaining the lead for the Rangers. The two powerplay goals for the Rangers raised their total of powerplay goals to a league high - 9 in three games (5-2-2). During the first period Jeff Doyle threw a hard wrister over DiRienzo's shoulder, glove side from the faceoff circle on a rush to bring the Greyhounds even with the Rangers.
The first goal for the Rangers might have been the only one that Druce was able to see entering his net. On both of the other goals, he had his back to the shooter. Big rookie forward: Patrick Davis beat Druce late in the second period on yet another goalmouth scramble, it was the 2nd goal of the his season. The Rangers dominated the second period, especially the second half where the Rangers scored their 2 goals, they tallied a total of 21 shots on goal, and nearly as many quality scoring chances. The Rangers, much like in the fashion that they started the previous season, they spent much of the game peppering netminders with some very good shots, while achieving minimal results. Even with some of the designated snipers in the lineup, the results simply haven't been as easy to achieve as they were one week ago against Plymouth.
This match also had more of the rough and tumble unlike the matchup against the Whalers. 6'7" Matt Maccarone, whom was acquired with Druce from the Generals pummelled Adam Keefe in the second period. Tempers boiled much in the way of carry over from the two team's first round matchup last season, once the Rangers gained a two goal lead. David Clarkson took on Brad Staubitz, and immediately after that Adam Keefe surprised just about everyone in the crowd when he ran in on Jordan Smith and beat up the Greyhound defender, who left the ice bloodied. With only 0.9 seconds left on the clock in the second period on that play stopage things nearly got completely out of the control. The officials forced several Greyhound players back onto the bench when it appeared as if head coach: Marty Abrams was sending tough guys over the boards, angry at the Rangers who appeared to employ goon tactics of their own. Cooler heads prevailed, despite a Greyhound roughing minor to Jeff Doyle at the 20-minute mark of the period.
During the third the Rangers tried to pin point their shooting a little too much, since they were not having luck beating Druce, the Rangers sent over 10 shots wide and high in that period alone, where the Rangers had their fewest shots on goal of any period with 16, including one on the empty net with 13 seconds left.
Jeff Carter who attended the Flyers camp with Michael Richards, and is easily the 'Hounds most talented forward scored on the man-advantage midway through the third period. Carlo DiRienzo could have not be faulted for that goal, on the overall he was solid but far from spectacular. Once the Greyhounds drew to within a goal, DiRienzo did have to make a couple of big stops; which is always hard when the opposition is not helping you keep sharp by giving you work. Petr Kanko fed Nathan O'Nabigon in the dying seconds to seal the deal for the Rangers with an empty netter.
Always pesky Sean Stefanski took liberties with Kanko earlier in the third and was taken into the ice by Petr violently for doing so. Scott Dobben was assessed a Gross misconduct for flipping the puck over the glass in the third period. The penalty automatically entails a 5-game suspension.
Kevin Druce was an easy choice for first star. Michael Richards and Petr Kanko were selected as second and third stars of the game. Their linemate: Nathan O'Nabigon lead the charge on this night with 3 poitns (1-2).
Andre Benoit continues to lead the league in
points with 12 (4-8) in only three games, the next leading scores on the
Rangers are Kanko and O'Nabigon who both have totals of 2-3 in 2 and 3
games respectively. Matt Pepe sat as Deveraux Heshmatpour found his
way back into the Rangers lineup again. Anthony Pototschnik replaced
Chad McCaffrey who sat out as a healthy scratch and found out later on
in the night that he was traded to the Toronto Majors for a 7th round draft
pick. Andre Benoit gave everyone in the build a scare when he took
a deflected shot off of the bottom of his visor during the second period
but did return to play.
Excellent Game night Photography by: Stephen Gardiner