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Big goalie, big effort, Kellerman first star again
 


Adam is about to get a handle on the puck infront of the Otters goal during a late game powerplay.  He
scored his 4th of the season to put the Rangers up 8-0 at that point.


With the Rangers in their biggest funk, in two seasons, hope came from looking forward in the schedule, and then looking back in time as to what successes that they have enjoyed against the two upcoming opponents.  The Rangers had 10 game winning streaks against both the Erie Otters and the Mississauga Ice Dogs, and by the end of Friday night they had increased both streaks to 11 games with their second straight win.  Tyson Kellerman, the Rangers' highly touted acquisition from the Saginaw Spirit, was making believers of Rangers fans with his performances in both games.  In Mississauga he stole the show with a 47 save effort which vaulted the Rangers up and over the red hot: Mississauga Ice Dogs, on Friday night things would appear to have been much easier for the 3rd year netminder.  Kellerman's selection for first star of the game was predominately based on his play during the first period where he made one spectacular glove save, as well as other quality stops, on the 17 shots that came in his direction.  His solid play, gave the Rangers a foundation to build their lead on before finally busting the game wide open.

David Clarkson scored on the powerplay, early in the first period.  Matt Lashoff's accurate wrist shot bounced off of rookie netminder: Josh Disher, and the rebound was put in by the Rangers' leading goal scorer: Clarkson, who now has 10 on the season.  Evan McGrath then banked a shot in on a wraparound later in the period, Disher simply didn't look his best and perhaps in hindsight should have been relieved by Max Marion at an earlier point in the game.

The game's turning point came in the second period when Otters' enforcer Bryan Hamm decided to take liberties with rugged Rangers' winger: David Clarkson, Hamm got the best of Clarkson in the quick uneven scrap, but unfortunately for the Otters was assessed a roughing double-minor at a time when the Otters were already trailing 2-0.  Worse yet, Tyson Kellerman was on the Rangers bench because of a delayed penalty to Brian Lee for slashing at that point.  Boris Valabik fired a slapshot on the powerplay which seemed to bury the Otters while the Rangers were still up two men.  The goal was the first of hopefully many for the tall Slovakian Rangers' rookie defender, who is continuing to show more and more promise with each game as a Ranger.
 
 


Thomas Harrison in his return to the Rangers lineup wasted little time in getting involved with Otters tough
guy Bryan Hamm in a true heavyweight tilt late in the third.  Hamm received the instigator penalty in this fight.


Things only went downhill for the Otters faster after Valabik opened up a 3 goal lead.  Michael Richards scored to make it 4-0 off of a very high deflection.  In the latter part of the period, Chris Gravelding would score a decision over: Sean O'Connor in a scrap.  Gravelding would add a pair of assists after returning to the ice after serving his five.  Craig Voakes would score his first as a Ranger, and Peter Franchin would follow up with his first OHL goal, making him the third Kitchener player during the second period to have scored his first as a Ranger.  In all the Rangers fired 21 shots on goal, and scored on 4 of them in a second period where all of the misfortunes of the team in the previous ten or so games, seemed to balancing themselves out all in a matter of one 20 minute period.

During the third period Petr Kanko contributed a powerplay goal, Adam Keefe also added a goal on the man advantage late in the game.  On the overall the Rangers were 4 for 10 on the man-advantage, while the Rangers were again in championship form stopping the Otters in each of their 7 opportunities.  Infact over the past two games the Rangers only allowed 1 powerplay goal and that was on an two man advantage against the Ice Dogs.  Bryan Hamm got busy again in the third period, challenging Thomas Harrison whom was playing in his first game since helping the Rangers win the Memorial Cup in May.  The fight was a true heavyweight tilt, both fighters were quite tangled and for the length of the ordeal not too many punches were thrown before Harrison took Hamm down to the ice.  Unfortunately for Bryan Hamm the fight was during the last five minutes of a 7-0 game at that point an hence he will be suspended by the league for instigating.  The only bright light surrounding an otherwise cloudy game for the Otters was Derrick Bagshaw scoring with just under a minute and a half remaining in the game to break up the shutout, with both a Rangers' defender and another Otter forward screening Kellerman.

The last Rangers' loss to the Otters occured in overtime in early 2002.  Craig Voakes had a team-high three point night.  David Clarkson, Adam Keefe, Chris Gravelding, Evan McGrath, and Michael Richards all had two-point performances in a game where the scoring was very widely spread out amongst the team.  Anthony Pototschnik was a healthy scratch and both Marcus Smith and Patrick Davis continued to be out with injuries.
 

 

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