With both the Rangers and Storm riding 4 game winning streaks going into Sunday's game, the old saying that something has to give, would be appropriate only prior to this game. The Rangers and Storm seemed to matchup dead even each team scoring a goal a period through regulation and they both left the game with a point a piece, and undefeated in 5. Perhaps the story is more who was happier with their point, the Guelph Storm or the Kitchener Rangers? It wasn't a question of the Rangers feeling inferior to the Storm whom they trailed by 6 points heading into the game, it was more in, the events of the 5 minute sudden death overtime period. Only 1:24 into the overtime, Matt Lashoff found his way to the box for a boarding Major, one that the Rangers were forced to kill while playing 4 on 3 hockey, with the exception of the last 4 seconds which were playing at an even more comprimising 5-3. The Rangers, and their netminder: Carlo DiRienzo who is now unbeaten in 3 starts after a 4-3 loss in Owen Sound, seemed to claim a moral victory. During the extra frame DiRienzo made some dazzling stops, and his efforts were rewarded as he was named the game's second star, after a first star performance on Friday night. Forwards, Keefe, and Richards really deserve credit for their dirty work while manning the points on that Storm powerplay.
The game which featured intense play and a heated rivalry both in the stands and on the ice, the third of 8 meetings on the season, had an erie resemblance to the second game of the OHL finals last season when the Rangers defeated the 67's 4-3 in overtime. The similarities naturally ended after regulation time expired and the Storm were unable to prevail, but the most striking similarities was how the goals were scored. The Guelph Storm enjoyed 3 one goal leads, however only spent a total of 8 minutes and 14 seconds with those leads. Daniel Paille and Michael Richards traded goals during the first period, both on the powerplay, to get things started.
The second period of the game was marred with
violence and penalties. Jakub Koreis was assessed a questionable
slew-footing major for bringing Evan McGrath to the ice. The match
penalty shocked most of the 3,479 in attendance and stayed fresh in the
minds of many of the Storm fans in attendance right until the final buzzer.
Fortunately for the Storm Craig Voakes found his way to the box for interference
while running a pick to the left of the Storm crease. During the
4 on 4 that ensued Matt Ryan would find the back of the Rangers' net.
After the expiration of the major penalty Marcus Smith would be credited
after his point blast deflected through Dennis. Things got a little
more physical when Adam Keefe dumped Mick Okrzesik who was down on the
ice injured for several minutes, one of many delays made the game nearly
stretch to the three hour mark. Okrzesik would return for the third
period, but Kyle Spurr would attempt to make Keefe regret his actions.
Spurr would get the upper hand early, but Keefe would later compensate
landing several blows before each fighter hit the ice, Keefe who had nearly
all of his jersey during the scrap, swung his jersey prompting booes from
many of the Guelph fans who already detested the fiesty winger. The
play of the period had to be DiRienzo's stop when Martin St. Pierre came
in all alone after having an Andre Benoit point shot deflect off of his
leg while shorthanded.
The third period started with a similar flavour to the end of the second period. Thomas Harrison and George Bradley, a pair of 6'2" defenders squared off infront of the Storm penalty box, and for the second time a Rangers' player had gotten the best of a member of the Storm. At the 6:38 mark Brent Trudell put the Storm on top for the third time in the game. The Rangers got caught during a linechange and Matt Lashoff was only able to do his best to prevent Daniel Paille from getting a great shot away, unfortunately Trudell was there to beat a prone DiRienzo who wasn't able to reach long enough for the rebound shot. As the Rangers did during 2 of their previous three wins the Rangers tried to call a timeout with only a minute left in regulation to attempt to put the game away prior to overtime and not unlike the games against the Spirit and Knights the Rangers were unable to convert.
Things got very interested only one minute and 24 seconds into overtime when Parlette assessed Matt Lashoff with a boarding major, a penalty that the Rangers would have to kill off 4 skaters on 3. Much like the penalty against Koreis, the major call was completely unexpected. Unlike the Kories major, there would be no even up minor gift wrapped for the Rangers, though Andre Benoit did try to storm down the ice while killing the penalty, he was cut off around the blueline. In the dying seconds of overtime, after some very gutsy efforts by several Rangers including a poised Carlo DiRienzo things got ungly infront of the Rangers net. Boris Valabik and Daniel Paille became entangled, and several cheap shots were delivered, in the end Paille had no helmet and Valabik was left bloodied on the ice. Despite that only a penalty to Valabik was assessed against he Rangers. The final 4 seconds, would be played 5 on 3. Though it took a while for the players to reorganize for the 5-3, as there were confusion as to how the rules worked when a team was down two men in a 4 on 4 overtime period.
With two playoff wins in Guelph, the Rangers
are now unbeaten in four games in Guelph. The Rangers were outshot
41-25, including a dominant 5-1 during the overtime period. Carlo
DiRienzo who made 38 saves was an easy choice for the game's second star.
Paille and Ryan, who both had two points on the night were first and third
star respectively. The Rangers finished 2 for 6 on the powerplay,
and the Storm 1 for 6. The split helped the Rangers stay within 6
points of the league leading Storm. Prior to the game it was made
known that Joey Biasucci would miss the remainder of the season due to
recurring back problems, he returned to his home in Sault Ste. Marie.
Patrick Davis, Peter Franchin and Cam Fergus were all scratches as for
the second straight game, the Rangers utilized 7 defenders.