Another low shooting game, but rather than a playoff atmosphere, the Rangers and Otters tilt had more of a lathargic feel to it. The Erie Otters were playing their third game in less than 48 hours without a full contingent of players on board and the Rangers didn't look much better. The Rangers were without the services of: David Clarkson who injured his shoulder during the second period of Friday night's game, and lost the services of Matt Lashoff after having his head hit hard on the glass at the end of the rink. The Otters came into the game on a depressingly long 11-game losing streak to the Rangers, they left Kitchener with half of the battle won, reducing it to a 12 game winless streak and perhaps should have done more and disrupted the Rangers now 10 game long unbeaten streak (7-0-3). Alex Karaulchuk was stoned on a breakaway during the second period and Chris Campoli missed the net with a wicked wrist shot during a two man break during the overtime period.
This game was just full of cliches and perhaps
the best save made during the game was the one that wasn't made by Kellerman
in overtime, with the Otters storming into the zone two on none, Campoli
had a decoy along with him but the third year netminder didn't take the
bait, he stayed with the shooter, moved out and gave Campoli nothing to
shoot at. Chris Campoli ripped the shot off of the boards, and the
Otters were robbed of what seemed like sure victory. It wasn't the
first time for the Otters during their 12 game run of frustration and futility
against the Rangers, late in the 2002-'03 season the Otters also led on
Kitchener ice 3-0 with only ten minutes remaining in regulation time.
The Otters would fall in overtime, a result symbolic of their fall from
OHL champions to playoff no-shows only one season later. The rivalry
with the Otters despite the Rangers dominance over the team, Thomas Harrison
picked yet another fight with Erie toughguy: Bryan Hamm. Marcus Smith
also took exception to Alex Karaulchuk's stick work, and Adam Keefe demolished
Matt Lynn during the second period.
For the second straight game against the Otters, Kellerman only allowed one goal, that goal tradgically came with only 26 seconds left in regulation time, and for the second time this season a Rangers shutout bid fell short in the dying minutes of a game. The shot was deflected with the Otters were working with 6 attackers, and disrupted an otherwise perfect outting for Kellerman who has been solid but hasn't been overly spectacular in recent weeks. Kellerman was first star for the third time in the Rangers current ten game unbeaten streak. Perhaps their unbeaten streak might end the way that it started, the Rangers as compared to previous weekends. The Rangers nearly dropped a decision to the Windsor Spitfires on Friday night and looked lame against an Otters team that had a horrendous travel schedule combined with some player shortages.
The Rangers also stand to be in much tougher next weekend when they will be playing 3 games in just under 48 hours in Kingston, Belleville and Ottawa, they will also return home to play the Ice Dogs on Tuesday night. They will have to make due without the services of Petr Kanko, Michael Richards, and Andre Benoit who will all be at the Czech as well as Canadian junior selection camps. The very slow game was scoreless through two periods, Petr Kanko beat impressive Otters' rookie Disher while on the powerplay. The Rangers powerplay went 1 for 7 on the afternoon. Both netminders were very strong, infact they were first and second star respectively.
After a one game hiatus, the Rangers returned to dressing 7 defenders, because they lost the services of Matt Lashoff early in the game and had to make due with out both Smith and Harrison who served fighting majors, it was particularly advantageous to have Chris Gravelding in the lineup. Patrick Davis dressed for the second straight game, and showed sparks but nothing consistent, yet. He will be counted on along with many others to step things up in the absense of the trio of veterans who will be absent at World Junior camps.