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Fight night in Plymouth, Rangers Blow 3-0 Lead

Ramsay Cuts in on Topping
Ryan Ramsay cuts in from the corner prior to knocking in a rebound in second period action.


After getting down early the Plymouth Whalers decided that their three game losing streak to the Kitchener Rangers was going to end. Having lost Games 6 & 7 of the 2003 Western Conference Championship, and being embarrased 10-4 in Kitchener's home opener this season, the Whalers were looking for Revenge. Brad Topping started for the Rangers, and looked solid in the first period, stoneing the Whalers on several opportunites to take the lead early on. Adam Keefe knocked in a rebound put the Rangers on the board at the 11 minute mark of the period with his 11th goal of the season. 

The second period began with a quick goal by David Clarkson to put the Rangers up 2-0. Petr Kanko followed this up with a goal on a break at the 5:45 mark while Matt Lashoff and Gino Pisellini were trading bombs in the faceoff circle to the left of Brad Topping behind the play. After the puck drop play went back into the Plymouth zone when David Clarkson and Jordan Grant scuffled. Each picked up an extra two on the play, Clarkson for Roughing and Grant for Instagating the fight. On the way to the penalty box after his fight Clarkson thew an arm-shot at another Whalers player sending him stumbling backwards. Referee McQuigge called nothing and the fight was on. As soon as the puck dropped Harrison and Fiedler were dropping gear and throwing punches. Both threw a number of punches with Harrison coming out on top in terms of quantity landed and the takedown. As soon as the puck dropped after this Boris Valabik and Vaclav Meidl started throwning as well. Both picked up extra tens as the ref attempted to regain control of the game.

Clarkson Screens on a 3rd Period Powerplay
David Clarkson attempts to screen Plymouth goalie Paul Drew during a third period powerplay
with the Rangers Down 4-3.

The 11 seconds of chaos completely changed the complection of the game. The large Plymouth crowd was awakened, and the team responded with a flury of goals to end the period tied at 3. With the number of defencemen in the box and injured, the Rangers were left with Benoit, Heshmatpour and Michael Richards covering the defencive end of the ice. The third period contined the strong play of the Whalers. The Rangers never appeared to be a threat to score, even on the man advantage. John Vigilante put the Whalers up 4-3 at the 11:16 mark while the Rangers were killing off a penalty to Boris Valabik for hauling a whaler down on a rush. On the game Valabik had 19 minutes in penalties, causing the rangers to be severly shorthanded defencively.

The Rangers defence corps continues to take a beating from injuries and penalty trouble. Overage pickup Alex MacDonell missed the game due to an injury against the Colts the night before, Matt Pepe was with the Cambridge Winterhawks, and Chris Gravelding was dressed but not available for serivce.  The Rangers were 0-4 on the Powerplay and 3-5 on the Penalty kill. Specialty team play continues to be a weakness with virtually non pressure generated on the powerplay and weak penalty killing through defencive injuries and penalties.

Commentary & Gamephotos by Duct Tape