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Lady luck runs out in Post Christmas Turkey

Clarksion & McGrath in the 1st
David Clarkson & Evan McGrath buzz around the Wolves goal early in the first period.

The night after the long points streak of the Maple Leafs in the NHL ended, the Kitchener Rangers similar streak came to a crashing halt in Sudbury against the Wolves. On a day where the Rangers captain was 1/2 round the world scoring for Team Canada at the World Juniors the Rangers looked listless and off-kilter coming off the Christmas break in a 4-1 loss to the Sudbury Wolves.

With Andre Benoit taking an extra day for personal reasons in the Christmas break, and defencemen Marcus Smith and Matt Lashoff out of the lineup with injuries, the Rangers defence consisted of four rookies spotted by veteran forwards. Boris Valabik, Chris Gravelding, Deveraux Heshmatpour,  Matt Pepe and veteran Tomas Harrison looked overmatched at times, with defensive mistakes leading to scoring opportunities and goals. At times Cam Fergus and Jesse Boucher both took the point, primarily during powerplays, but late in the game at even strength as well.

Kellerman struggled against the Wolves in his second straight start against them, however this time he was not pulled quickly as in the last game in Kitchener. The first two goals were through the five hole, one as a result of a defensive zone breakdown, and the second a shorthanded breakaway after a blocked shot of the stick of Boris Valabik. Sudbury's leader Zack Stortini scored the breakaway goal and the 3rd Wolves goal that appeared to break the Rangers to make the score 3-1

Nathan O'Nabigon works behind the Wolves Goal
Rangers' Nathan O'Nabigon and Craig Voakes work behind the Wolves goal in 2nd period action.

Head coach Peter DeBoer did not return to the bench for the 3rd period leaving assistants Steve Spott and Jim Brown on the bench. DeBoer relocated to the media both above the ice to watch the period and observe his teams efforts to get back into the game. Midway through the 3rd period the Rangers efforts to get back into the game were dealt blow with an ill timed boarding call for 5 minutes and a game misconduct to Patrick Davis. A penalty to the Wovles with exactly two minues left in the major lead the Rangers to pull Kellerman to gain the advantage in an effort to get back into the game. The strategy appeared to be working until the Referee blew play dead to call a too many men penalty, before realising as David Clarkson argued that the Goalie was not in the net. Former Ranger Rafal Martynowski was deadly on this day, scoring the first goal, assisting on the third and putting in an empty netter midway through the third to ice the game.

With his goal in the first Evan McGrath became the 8th Ranger to score 10 or more goals this season. The loss was the first for the Rangers in Tyson Kellermans last 12 starts (9-1-2).  The Rangers were without there three leading scorers for the game with Benoit taking an extended break for personal reasons, and Michael Richards & Petr Kanko in Finland at the World Junior Tournament. Before the game the Wolves honoured their starting netminder Patrick Ehelechner for his leading the German Junior team to Gold in the "B" pool to qualify them for the 2005 World Junior Championships.

Gamephotos and Commentary by Duct Tape