After contributing 3 goals in a 6-4 win over the Soo Greyhounds, one of the Rangers grit lines went to work again in Saginaw. Adam Keefe, Peter Franchin, and Paul McFarland were on the ice for two goals in Saginaw, but unfortunately the Rangers weren't able to receive any offensive help from either of their top two units centred by: Craig Voakes and Evan McGrath. The Spirit entered the game winless in 6 against the Rangers in their short team history 0-3-1-2. Rangers' netminder: Carlo DiRienzo, started the game, his second consecutive start on the road trip. With the Rangers walking into Saginaw shorthanded the Spirit were not overly interested in letting an opportunity for a rare victory to slip through their hands as they have on two very embarassing occasions against the Rangers, blowing a 6-2 lead in Kitchener and last season on the Eve of the new year when a flu-ridden Rangers' team walked into town, and the Spirit enjoyed an early 2-0 lead prior to falling in overtime.
The Spirit appeared determined to play the
Rangers tough, and with an already depleted Rangers' lineup, they determined
that the best way to play the Rangers was tough, they also effectively
clogged the neutral zone, along with many Rangers' passing lanes.
The Rangers coming off of a victory the night prior in the Soo did not
start off the game on the right foot. Only 50 seconds in they were
assessed with a too-man men on the ice penalty, the Rangers would kill
that penalty and the Spirit would only open the scoring 13 minutes into
the game when their leading scorer: Nick Lees would make good on a feed
from Jean-Michel Rizk for his 17th goal of the season. Only 39 seconds
after Andre Benoit threw a puck across the blueline to Boris Valabik who
flung the puck through a screen and into the top of the Spirit net.
The period would finish with some spirited play along with some vicious
hits, including a terrible uncalled slew foot on big Rangers' defender:
The Spirit and Rangers then traded goals again in the early going of the second period. Jesse Gimblett scored for the Spirit and this time Peter Franchin replied for the Rangers, this time the lead lasted one minute, 10 seconds. Only 31 seconds after the Rangers had tied the game for the second time Jamie Klie scored the first goal of his career. The goal the second in just under two minutes was a rather ordinary looking shot which somehow found it's way under the leg of Carlo DiRienzo, after a very weak five-hole goal started things in the second period for the Spirit DeBoer was not very patient and rightfully so in pulling his starter who looked very shakey in the second period. Enter Tyson Kellerman who would be playing in Saginaw for the first time since last season where he started the bulk of the games during a very trying inaugrual season in Saginaw for the former North Bay franchise, without an overage season, and baring any trades, in all likelyhood it would Kellerman's final start in the city that he called home for one OHL season. Unlike his only other action against the Spirit (also a no decision, but in Kitchener), Kellerman was there to impress.
After Kellerman joined his former teammate and fellow goalie in the nets in Saginaw, each of the netminders put on a clinic. Kellerman made several stops to keep the Rangers to within one goal, and Brown made several sensational stops to maintain the Spirit's slim 3-2 lead, one they would nurse for over 37 mintues to conclude the game. The Rangers would pull their netminder in favour of an extra attacker as well as calling a timeout in the dying minutes and despite winning many offensive faceoffs the Rangers were simply unable to beat Brown who is always sharp in between the pipes for the Spirit. The best Rangers' opportunity took place on a two on one when Mike Brown stacked the pads to stop an Adam Keefe one-timer from going in with only 2 minutes left in regulation.