For the second time in two home games the Rangers finished allowing 4 straight unanswered goals against. The last time that the Rangers had even lost two consecutive home games was during their horrendous 0-3 start to the 2002-'03 season, when they lost back to back games against the Spitfires on opening night and the Battalion just one week later.
With the Attack having acquired Ottawa 67's toughguy: Adam Smyth as an overager, there was an air of bad will in the Aud. And on Adam's first shift on Friday night, he caught Matt Lashoff's knee with a dirty hit that the Rangers seemed furious about. Fortunately Lashoff was able to return to the ice after the incident, but the ill-willed gesture set the tone for what was to be a very violent game. Petr Kanko and Smyth continued their rivalry from the 2003 OHL finals, and after a 10-minute misconduct in the second period, Smyth would not see the ice until the plays were to skate to their respective locker rooms at games' end. Nathan O'Nabigon was conspicuously missing from the Rangers' lineup in the late going.
After starter Carlo DiRienzo got roughed up for 6 goals on Thanksgiving Monday, Tyson Kellerman took to the ice for his second start of the season and looked significantly more jittery than he did in his first start against the Windsor Spitfires (a 5-1 victory for the Rangers). Kevin Harvey scored for the Owen Sound Attack from a terrible angle only minutes into the game. The Rangers would reply with a controversial goal minutes later, David Clarkson would come into contact with Gherson (this proved to be a constant theme all night long) Gherson tumbled over, and eventually the puck found it's way back to the point where a Matt Lashoff point drive would find through while Clarkson was still in the way of Gherson who was very frustrated about how he allowed the goal. Disaster would strike when Petr Kanko's hard pass up the middle would end up directly on the stick of: Stefan Ruzicka who immediately buried a wrist shot while in alone on Kellerman, just under Kellerman's arm.
During one of the more wild flurries of the
first period Andre Benoit had two spectacular opportunities from in close
while on the powerplay, Gherson was up to the task and robbed him both
times. During the second period which was dominated by the Rangers,
the Attack were outshot: 12-4, Michael Richards managed to score on Gherson
to knot the score at 2 a piece on a third opportunity after a point shot
by Valabik that resulted in Boris Valabik's first point as a Ranger.
During the third period the wheels fell off for the Rangers, Bobby Ryan, the Attack's first round draft pick scored on the powerplay, from a bad angle, and then a turnover led to another specialty teams goal by Mark Giordano, his first of the season. Kellerman stopped Giordano's first shot, but in passing Giordano was able to bank the rebound in. With just over 4 minutes left in the third Peter DeBoer elected to try and sneak Kellerman out of the net while the teams were playing 4-on-4 but the plan backfired with Tom Zanoski scoring the first goal of his season. He'd add another minutes later to finish the scoring at 6-2.
With just over a minute left, tensions boiled over. The Rangers were still noticably angered with Adam Smyth's work on Matt Lashoff's knee, and the Attack had more than their fill of watching their star netminder get hit repetively by Rangers forwards. The catalyst to things falling apart was a great scoring chance by Evan McGrath, and rookie Ranger: Patrick Davis attempting to slash the puck out of Gherson's glove hand. Gherson tumbled to the ice in pain and two Attack defenders chased Davis into the corner and started roughing him up. All of the Rangers quickly joined into the mess, including the Rangers' pair of 6'6" defenders: Boris Valabik, and Deveraux Heshmatpour. Heshmatpour laid a beating on Owen Sound rookie Bobby Ryan.
Heshmatpour and Ryan were given the only fighting majors, to avoid suspensions to the remainder of the players. Since Ryan was an unwilling combatent, Heshmatpour was given the instigator penalty which brings along with it a game misconduct along with a suspension. Official Mark Hicks failed to make any call on the Adam Smyth knee that clipped: Smyth and for the most part also failed to protect Owen Sound starting netminder: Robert Gherson.
The last time that Robert Gherson saw Tyson
Kellerman at the Aud in Kitchener, they were sharing duties for the OHL
Western Conference All-Star team. The pair split a 2-0 shutout in
that game. Valabik scored his first OHL point, and Matt Lashoff also
contributed his first OHL goal. Robert Gherson was an easy choice
for first star after stopping 36 of 38 shots on goal. The crowd of
5929 appeared as frustrated as the Rangers at many times during the game.