If there was ever a tonic for a struggling hockey team, it would not be a powerful team from the opposite conference coming into town with a brand new defender and two offensive superstars fresh off of the World Junior Championships. The Barrie Colts, who have been slumping since after the Christmas holidays. After picking up Alex McDonell the day before, the Rangers made what could turn out to be a blockbuster netminder trade. Popular Tyson Kellerman was traded to the Brampton Battalion in exchange for 4th year netminder: Brad Topping. The Rangers' didn't take their time in putting Topping into the fire, however, as the game quickly proved there might not have been a fire to start on this night.
The Rangers took little time in getting on
the scoreboard, Clarkson set up a nice give and go with Craig Voakes who
poked a puck through Coliaicovo's five-hole. MacDonnell recorded
his first point as a Ranger on the goal. Only minutes later, Andre
Benoit would go to work on the powerplay, he threaded the puck through
the legs of a Colt forward's legs and the screened shot found the back
of the net. Jesse Boucher and Patrick Davis combined to sink the
Colts during the second period. Both goals were scored on defensive
Early in the third period a rather embarassing giveway, Michael Richards put the exclamation point on what was already becoming a very ugly Colt loss when he beat Coliaicovo blind. With just under 6 minutes left in regulation, Brad Topping's shutout bid was disrrupted. Travis Fuller's stick inadvertantly got up on Boris Valabik, while Valabik was on the ice, Fuller found his way to the front of the net alone, where he was uncontested in beating Brad Topping with far too much time to work some offensive magic. The goal was far overdue, as the Colts had more than their share of blown chances, including a hit goal post during the first period with Topping virtually down and out. The Colts showed some obvious frustrations entering the game, and during the game things were very chipping and at times appeared as if they might lose control. The big Rangers blueline, with newest addition: Alex MacDonnell provided a more physical aspect to the team.
Chris Gravelding missed the game because of a minor concussion. Deveraux Heshmatpour dressed as the 6th defender, and during the third period played with four different linemates. Matt Lashoff did not see the ice after the second period. Trade deadline is Friday January 9th. The Rangers broke out of their 2 game losing streak. Topping was a catalyst in the Battalion's 6 game victory over the Colts during the frist round of the 2003 playoffs.