The Rangers did it all last season, they conqoured the entire OHL during the regular season and again in the postseason. They defeated Kelowna, Hull, and Quebec City in the Memorial Cup. The one blemish on the Rangers amazing season, the Rangers at one point or another defeated 18 of the 19 other teams in the OHL. The Rangers weren't able to beat the Central Division winning Brampton in either meeting last season and started out this year with a loss in Brampton to make it 3 straight losses to the boys in Green. The struggling Battalion who entered the season with expectations for the team to be the class of the East are now struggling to find the points to qualify for a playoff spot with. In this game, the Battalion came out flying something any team in the OHL has to do as a prerequisite to winning in Kitchener something that last occured for a visitor 15 games back. Brampton pressed early and Carlo DiRienzo only making his 2nd start in the Rangers' last 7 games since the acquisition of Brad Topping, was sharp in the early going. He as well as the remainder of the team caught a bad break when Matt Lashoff deflected a puck past him in at the midway point of the first period.
The Rangers drew back even when Evan McGrath
deposited a second rebound past Couture. Things broke down when Deveraux
Heshmatpour's point should could not be handled cleanly by Kevin Couture,
David Clarkson had his chance prior to McGrath getting his hands on the
puck for his 13th of the season. Later in the period Paul McFarland
stormed in and from a near impossible angle roofed the puck right over
Couture's shoulder and into the back of the net. With the Battalion
still noticably shaken by the weak goal, Andre Benoit zipped deep into
the Battalion end of the ice less than one minute later to give the Rangers
a commanding lead.
Early in the second period Michael Richards put the Battalion out of their misery, Andre Benoit set him up. The second period was a relatively tame one without penalties, but it did have one huge collision. Two Battalion players meet head on, drawing a cheer from the nearly 6,000 in attendance. The two collided knee on knee and much to the surprise of everyone Jamie Fraser had to be helped from the ice, he would not return. Battalion coach: Stan Butler is known for his defensively conservative style of hockey, and unfortunately unwilling to open the play up in order to get back into the game, the Rangers and Battalion lulled many of the local fans to sleep, those who weren't in some way comatose made their ways collectively to the exits.
Andre Benoit's goal was the team leading 21st
of the season, leaving him one goal shy of last seasons' total of 22, which
was a high amongst OHL defenders. The matchup concludes the Rangers'
schedule against Central division opponents, they finished with a lackluster
5-4-1 record against those teams. This season the Rangers have defeated
every team in the OHL with the exception of the Toronto Majors, Owen Sound
Attack and Oshawa Generals (whom they have yet to face). Red hot
Paul McFarland has really turned things up since being lined up with Nathan
O'Nabigon and Adam Keefe after the trade deadline, he scored his career
his 8th of the season to lead the Rangers to victory.