The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds continued to roll over their OHL opponents, despite being doubled in shots (54-27), the Rangers just simply appeared to be another victim of a team who is playing with confidence and getting some extremely solid goaltending. Both Kevin Druce (acquired from the Oshawa Generals and Jakub Cech, a rookie import have been spectacular in recent weeks. The Greyhounds embarked on their 6 game winning streak immediately after falling 4-2 for the second straight time against the Rangers while in the Soo. In both of the matchups against the Rangers, Kitchener's top unit of Michael Richards, Nathan O'Nabigon and Petr Kanko controlled the game, and in each occurance contibuted 3 goals. On this night the 'Hounds would restrict the offensive of that line, leaving the entire line with a single point, resulting in the Greyhounds 7th victory, propelling them to to the top of the OHL's Western divsion Standings.
The red hot Greyhounds didn't take long in getting started against the Rangers whom have been guilty of slow starts while on home ice in recent weeks. Colt King blasted a shot through Carlo DiRienzo giving the Greyhounds the upper hand early. The Rangers would recover however, second line pivot, and goal-starved: Evan McGrath would finish a nice passing play faking Cech to bring the Rangers back to even.
In the second period misfortune spelled the
end of netminder: Carlo DiRienzo's night. The young netminder was
beaten by a very ordinary looking: Scott Dobben shot from what appeared
to be a very safe distance. With the team in a funk and looking to
shake up the troops head coach Peter DeBoer quickly replaced DiRienzo with
the veteran: Tyson Kellerman prevented any further damage in the second
period. Rafal Martynowski took a hard shot off of the foot and barely
did make it to the bench, but would return to action.
The Rangers came out flying in the third period only to be grounded by yet another Scott Dobben shot which illuded Kellerman this time around. His goal was his 3rd point of his night, good for 3rd star honors at games' end. The 2 goal deficit seemed to strengthen the resolve of the Rangers, while giving the Greyhounds a level of comfort. The Rangers began to pepper Jakub Cech with shots and started winning more of the individual battles for loose pucks. During the third period the Rangers utilized rookies: Anthony Pototschnik, Cam Fergus and Mike Chimelewski while benching overaged forwards: Nathan O'Nabigon, and Jesse Boucher, both of who's indifferent play at times failed to inspire coach DeBoer and Rangers' fans alike during the first two periods of the game. All three rookie forwards made the most of their opportunities, and tended to blend in well while on lines with some of the Rangers most premier forwards.
Mike Chmielewski battled infront of the Greyhounds net all period long and was rewarded when Michael Richards finally scored, resulting in Chmeilewsk's first point of his campaign, an assist, also the first of his still short OHL career. Minutes later, infront of over 6,000 screaming fans the Rangers went to work on the powerplay, and by far the best opportunity was generated when Matt Lashoff found himself alone in the high slot, unfortunately he was unable to beat Cech who seemed to have his number all night long. Lashoff did contribute an assist in the losing effort and made many risky plays around the opposition's blueline count, he was the games' second star behind Cech who held the fort as the Rangers pressured with 26 shots all during the third period. Most important was Cech's rebound control which prevented the Rangers from getting the second and third opportunities against the rookie netminder.
Matt Manias in his second return to Kitchener contributed an assist. The Greyhounds are the 5th team in Colt King's career, he started in Guelph as an underaged rookie, before moving to North Bay, Saginaw, Oshawa, and then Sault Ste. Marie this season. Scott Dobben went from out house to penthouse in his two visits to Kitchener this season, during the first visit he was assessed a gross-misconduct for intentionally flipping the puck over the glass and in this, his second and probably last visit to Kitchener, barring a playoff matchup contributed on all three Greyhound goals (2-1).
Despite concerns about flu-like symptoms, Chris Gravelding started on the Rangers' blueline, he was joined by a familiar face in fellow underager: Matt Pepe who was temporarily called up from the Cambridge WinterHawks. Pepe was called up to fill in for Deveraux Heshmatpour who was serving the second of two games of a suspension resulting from a fight against the Owen Sound Attack on the previous weekend. Peter Franchin and Patrick Davis, who were both injured while up in Owen Sound also missed the game, and are not expected to return to the lineup for any games on this 3-game in three day weekend.