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Richards leads thrid period surge over Spirit

Mike Brown and Deveraux Heshmatpour watch anxiously as a Rangers' shot deflects into the air
during third  period action.

The Saginaw Spirit were supposed to be the OHL's worst team, a team that the Rangers all-time are undefeated against (4-0-1) and during the first period the Spirit played to the script, the Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead, and by the end of the period had accumulated 25 shots on goal.  From that point on things looked to be the opposite after an upstart Spirit team started to get momentum after a Georgi Misharin's point shot, beat Tyson Kellerman clean during the first period.  The Rangers still sustained pressure on the Spirit but things quickly got off track for the Rangers during the second period.

Jean-Michel Rizk tied the game early in the second period before, Steve Dix and Patrick Asselin would score twice within 22 seconds chasing Tyson Kellerman who had won each of his last 3 starts from the Rangers' goal.  Frustrations boiled over for the Rangers who were again struggling to establish some sort of consistent play after a streak where the team won only one of eight games.  David Clarkson took on Saginaw's: Adam Sturgeon, who fought Mike Chmielewski in Saginaw, and Adam Keefe followed up with a fight directly off the faceoff with Steve Dix.  It appeared as if the turnaround point for the Rangers may have been just around the corner when Petr Kanko left the zone on an excellent Boris Valabik pass with a clear break, but his deke was read perfectly by Brown who made the save.  Minutes later Adam Gibson would sneak the puck past Biasucci during a goalmouth scramble.

Any notion of a miraculous Rangers' comeback seemed to be snuffed early in the third period when Nick Lees lifted the puck over the shoulder of Biasucci from a bad angle and suddenly the Rangers were in a 6-2 whole.  The goal seemed to serve as a wake up call for the Rangers who had enjoyed 30 minutes of solid slumber to that point in the game.  Michael Richards, the team's captain, seemed to be drum with the beat that the remainder of the team would play to.  Only one night after sitting out as a healthy scratch Jesse Boucher beat Brown to bring the Rangers within three.  Minutes later the Rangers would follow up with a powerplay marker by David Clarkson, making things anxious for the Spirit, interim Spirit coach Moe Mantha called a timeout, but the effects of the timeout were hardly noticeable, Mike Brown was still enduring a barrage of Rangers' shots.

Evan McGrath watches as his shot during the first period hits the back of the net, giving the Rangers an
early 1-0 lead.

With the Rangers' only down 6-4 and the aura of a brilliant comeback in the air, Rangers' fans, nearly 6,000 strong started to really get behind the Rangers, especially with Adam Gibson in the box for Holding, a penalty called by the second official who was actually out of the zone at the time.  Nathan O'Nabigon was the Rangers marksman on the powerplay he led Rangers' fans into a frenzy for the third time in a short while during the third period.  With just under 8 minutes left in the third period, it was Michael Richards' turn to score, he had earned assists on each of the previous three goals, he snaked around Brown before finally depositing the puck into the near empty Spirit net.  The dying minutes of regulation and overtime brought more of the same pressure from the Rangers.  Three minutes into overtime Andre Benoit completed the comeback with the Rangers 5th consecutive goal.

It was the 6th time on home ice during this season that the Rangers have premitted 6 goals against, during the previous season the Rangers didn't allow 6 goals in any home games.  The two previous times that the Rangers allowed 6 goals against were 6-4 and 6-2 losses to the Storm and Attack respectively.  The win, the Rangers 4th in 5 games, gave the Rangers a tighter grip on 7th place in the conference where they stand alone only 4 points back of the conference leading Guelph Storm.

Patrick Davis, after returning the night before did not suit up on this night, he is again hurt after a hit by Petes' Bryan Young.  Boris Valabik assisted on each of the two Rangers' goals during the first period.  Richards the games' first star led the Rangers with 4 points, all of which took place during the third period.  Clarkson, McGrath, Boucher, Kanko, O'Nabigon and Benoit all had two point peformnaces.  The Rangers put what may be an all-time high of 69 shots on goal, including 33 in the third period and overtime.  Spirit netminder Mike Brown who smashed his stick after allowing the winning goal was the games' third star despite allowing 7 goals.  Joey Biasucci allowed two goals on 20 shots, he picked up a victory in his first Rangers' appearance.  Tyson Kellerman was noticably frustrated after allowing 4 goals against his old team.