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3-0 led evaporates, but Rangers still win

Cam Fergus Watches for a rebound in 3rd Period Action
Cam Fergus watches for a rebound as Eric Tobia makes a save in third period action.

It has been a tough season for the Belleville Bulls, once the class of the East along with the Ottawa 67's, they have now fallen on tougher times.  On Saturday night they had an exclamation point put on what has been a season filled with struggle.  Even with the severely depleted lineup of the Rangers, the Bulls still found themselves in a 3-0 hole early in the first period.  However, James Boyd a former Kitchener draft pick and player, managed to rally his team, and have them eventually draw even with the Rangers.  Mike Roelofsen got the bears going late in the first period and there appeared to be many more bears that occured during the Kingston game the night before.  Earlier in the period, the many Rangers' fans that had made the trip, participated in their own mini bear vigil prompted by an Adam Keefe powerplay goal.

Cam Fergus while playing the point on the Rangers' powerplay for the second straight night, picked up an assist on the opening goal of the game.  Craig Voakes followed up that goal quickly, before Evan McGrath scored his second in two games to give the Rangers what then appeared to be a commanding lead.  By the time that the two teams departed from the ice, the Rangers would still hold a commanding 3-1 lead, and enjoyed a similar shots on goal advantage to the one that they held in Kingston in the early going the night before.  The second period would bring change, a new look in goal, in the form of Belleville Bulls player of the month Eric Tobia.  Marc Rancourt scored and Josh Francis scored his first OHL goal on the powerplay to bring the Bulls back even with the Rangers.  Rancourt batted the puck out of the air and DiRienzo didn't stand a chance on the goal. 

Nathan O'Nabigon Screens Eric Tobia in 3rd Period Action
Nathan O'Nabigon deflects a point shot in front of Eric Tobia in third period action.

The Rangers caught the break that they needed to tie the game in the third after a slashing minor chased Evan McGrath off of the ice early in a shift.  Fortunately there wouldn't be any breaks for McGrath who skated off in noticable pain in his upper body.  Patrick Davis finally beat Tobia after nearly 30 minutes of shutout hockey, with Craig Voakes providing the helper.  Soon after Davis would pot a second goal, an early career high for the rookie winger, this time with McGrath centering his line shortly after the original penalty would have expired.  The goal gave the Rangers a 5-3 lead.  The Bulls did trim that lead to only one goal with just over one and a half minutes left on the clock, but would fail to score the equalizer with Tobias out in favour of the extra attacker.

The win added on to the Rangers now monsterous 12 game unbeaten streak (8-0-4).  Patrick Davis was an easy choice for first star with his three point effort.  Evan McGrath chipped in with a goal and an assist, and for the second straight night Marcus Smith was the games' third star.  Smith contributed a pair of first period assists.  Mike Roelofsen had points on all three Belleville goals.  James  Boyd wasn't the only familiar face to have  played in both a Rangers' jersey as well as a Belleville Bulls one in the mid-90's, former first round pick: Travis Riggin, who was originally drafted by the Bulls, 4th overall, was eventually traded to the Rangers he was one of the two linesmen.  After a tough second period Carlo DiRienzo came up with a big third period including one spectacular glove stop.  With the Rangers leading in the third period, Paul McFarland had a terrible solo penalty killing effort down in the Belleville corner of the rink.