Last season the Rangers recorded a team record 50 points while on the road, matching their home totals to account for 100 total points. In addition to the 50 points on home ice, the Rangers waltzed through the playoffs only losing once while away from the Memorial Auditorium. This season started well on the road for the Rangers, however the Rangers have struggled of late losing 4 of their last 5 games away from home, with their only win coming in Barrie against the Colts. On Sunday night with a 6-3 loss to rival Guelph Storm the Rangers saw their home record fall to: 10 wins and ten losses, an a pair of ties. Amazingly the Rangers have continued to roll on home ice, where they have won 4 straight and are unbeaten in 13 overall (11-0-2). The Rangers primary problem would appear to be their specialty teams, the Rangers went 1 for 16 on the powerplay while surrendering 7 powerplay goals in only 21 opportunities. Uncharacteristically the usually disciplined Rangers had more powerplays against than for.
For both the Rangers and Storm it was their
third game in three nights, and both teams didn't appear to show any ill
effects in the early. As always the game was extremely hard-hitting
as both teams were more than willing to play an in your face style of hockey.
The Storm weren't overly interested in letting either team or netminder
get settled before they got started. Matt Ryan set up Daniel Paille
who simply flipped the puck over the unsuspecting shoulder of Topping only
15 seconds in. Michael Richards was quck to counter. Immediately
after the goal, George Bradley landed a big hit on Clarkson who entered
the zone with his head town. Paul McFarland would try to enact some
revenge, but unfortunately drew an instigating minor on the fight that
ensued. Thomas Harrison would try his luck with Bradley later in
the game. Later on in what proved to be a critical point in the game
the Rangers failed after being granted an opporunity, and the Storm thrived
on the adversity that came in their direction. Cam Janssen (recently
acquired from the Windsor Spitfires), was about to be hit by Matt Lashoff,
but ended up catching Lashoff with a cross-check resulting in a 5-minute
major penalty. The Rangers failed to score during the first four
minutes of that powerplay that ended a very undisciplined slashing minor
to Topping who caught St. Pierre after some contact outside of the net.
The Storm went to work early during the second period as well. Brent Trudell beat Topping on the powerplay, only 28 seconds into the period. Adam Keefe with a tremendous solo effort again brought the Rangers back to even when his backhand shot found its way into the top corner of the net. Things would go downhill quickly from that point both from an ingerity of the game standpoint and for the Rangers' overall hopes of leaving Guelph with a win. Daniel Paille and Martin St. Pierre scored in succession and things got ugly from there. The Rangers replaced Brad Topping who was already making himself very unpopular with the Guelph fans. A succession of fights followed, first Keefe dismantled: Mick Okrzesik. Michael Richards stepped in for Matt Lashoff and fought Kyle Spurr, Richards was noticably frustrated after the scrap throwing his helmet violently into the hallway. Harrison fought with Bradley for the second time in Guelph this season, and only 3 seconds afterwards, Clarkson went with Storm rookie: Hart. Cooler heads would eventually prevail after Hutchinson assessed both combatants in the final fight of the evening 10-minute misconducts to accompany their fighting majors, one would suspect that game misconducts would have been next on the agenda.
The third period, unfortunately started in a very similar fashion to the first two. Only 19 seconds in, Ryan Callahan gave the Storm a commanding three goal lead while on the powerplay. The goal came on a shot from a near impossible angle while the Storm were on a two man advantage. DiRienzo didn't have a chance on the goal. As he did in London, DiRienzo was very solid in his relief performance, making several big stops. Peter Franchin whom has shown rapid improvement scored his 5th goal of the season, but that was as close as the Rangers would get. Martin St. Pierre unselfishly donated the hattrick empty net goal to Daniel Paille. The loss in Guelph snapped an undefeated streak of 4 games in Guelph for the Rangers (3-0-1) dating back to last postseason. It was the 100th meeting for the two heated rivals, Guelph leads the all-time series with a 43-41-14-1 record.
Game photography provided by: Duct Tape