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Saginaw spoils DiRienzo's shutout bid

Rafal Martynowski, seen battling for position infront of the Saginaw net finally scored both the first
goal of the game in the second period and the first of his season, he named 1st star.

The Saginaw Spirit for the third time in three home games against the Kitchener Rangers made things interesting but ultimately fell short.  In the third period the Rangers entered with a 1-0 lead on a crafty goal by Rangers' forward: Rafal Martynowski which broke a scoreles tie only 6 minutes into the second period.  The Rangers broke things open early in the third on goals by David Clarkson and Patrick Davis who each scored their 3rd goals of the season within minutes of each other giving the Rangers' a insurmountable lead, especially considering the fact that the Spirit had only put 13 shots on DiRienzo who was sharp through the first two periods.

The Spirit, formerly the North Bay Centennials from 1982-'02 in the OHL, have lost all three matchups on home ice against the Rangers, and are winless in their only 5 matchups against the Rangers (0-3-1-1).  During each of the previous two matchups on home ice against the Rangers, the Spirit led going into the third period only to be outscored in the final frame as they were in this tilt (2-1, after trailing 3-0).

After a relatively uneventful first period which saw the two teams awarded 7 powerplays combined the second period would see far more excitement.  The Rangers new intensity line of: Paul McFarland, Rafal Martynowski and Adam Keefe, opened the scoring for the Rangers in the second period.  Just as he did the night before, Paul McFarland was the setup man working the puck to Rafal Martynowski who has had a frustrating time in scoring his first goal of the season.  Rafal Martynowski, due to his efforts and that of the entire line on the forecheck was named the games' top star.  While it was a very positive sign to see the production from the Rangers' third line it was rather depressing to see that the Rangers only production during the last 6 periods was the two goals produced by Rangers number three unit along with an empty net goal from Nathan O'Nabigon against the Greyhounds the previous weekend.

Things heated up from that point onward.  David Clarkson battled with Jesse Jenish and soon after a reluctant Mike Chmielewski would be forced to drop the gloves with former Ice Dog: Adam Sturgeon, unfortunately for the Rangers, the results of that fight were not overly encouraging.  Adam Sturgeon was given the instigator for his pummelling efforts over Chmielewski who would rather shy away from fighting despite being one of the bigger forwards in the league.  Big 6'6" Alex MacDonnell, formerly of the Battalion looked to have been under the skin of both Evan McGrath along with the always feisty Adam Keefe.

The Rangers appeared to be anxious to put things away during the third period of the game, they only put 6 shots on goal during the period, but those that they did put on goal were of very high quality.  David Clarkson batted the puck through rookie netminder: Pfligler during a scramble, only minutes later, Patrick Davis wrapped the puck around the net and beat Pfligler again giving the Rangers a commanding 3-0 lead.  With only a minute left in regulation time and Patrick Davis serving a boarding penalty, Saginaw forward Mike Suggs made DiRienzo stretch to the stick side headed around the back of the net feeding: Geoff Platt who one-timed the pass, past DiRienzo who missed while diving across the crease.  DiRienzo just missed his third career shutout on this night.

On the overall Carlo DiRienzo was excellent on the night, he wasn't overly busy, but also didn't play a complacent game in goal for the Rangers.  For the second straight start he was named the games' second star.  Pfligler a rookie signee made the Saginaw Spirit confident enough to effectively cut former All-Star: Tyson Kellerman, who is still at home awaiting a trade was strong in his first ever OHL start.  Late in the second period, he made an absolutely spectacular kick save on Petr Kanko who seemed all but assured of a goal.

The Rangers powerplay stalled for the second straight game, though they didn't receive any man advantage opportunities beyond early in the second period.  They appeared to have a powerplay coming to them in the third period, however Petr Kanko followed Adam Gibson to the box with an unsportsmanlike diving penalty.  Also for the second straight game the Rangers' often dominant number one line falled to score a goal.  Richards, O'Nabigon and Kanko are now pointless in two games.

Mike Chmielewski replaced Anthony Pototschnik in the Rangers lineup and after scoring two goals during his only two games last season was playing in his first regular season game this year, during the previous five he was a healthy scratch.  Both Rafal Martynowksi (1-1) and Evan McGrath (0-2) had two point games.  Geoff Platt who scored the Spirit's only goal was named the games' third star.

Excellent Game night Photography by: Stephen Gardiner