There were two players in this game who seemed interested in proving themselves to Rangers fans and the Rangers' Head coach: Peter DeBoer. The strange thing was that there was a player on each team that had something to prove to coach DeBoer. On the Belleville Bulls side of the puck there was the dimunitive Chad McCaffrey who has been enjoying a substantially higher amount of ice time with the Belleville Bulls. McCaffrey was on the ice for the only Bulls goal and was no where to be seen when the Rangers were scoring, making him as well as Dan Rogers the only Bulls with a positive +/-. On the Rangers' side of the puck there was Cam Fergus who just prior to the trade deadline was reassigned to the Cambridge Winterhawks of the Midwestern Jr. B circuit. Cam Fergus played a very intense game, spending time on the wings, at center and with a variety of different forward combinations. He assisted on Nathan O'Nabigon's 3-0 goal and was a +2 on the night overall.
This wasn't McCaffrey's night, or Fergus' night.
Michael Richards stole the show. He started off, very early in this
matchup perhaps trying to atone for a weekend where he and his linemates
looked rather ordinary. While on shorthanded Richards, put the puck
on goal and was pulled down, on the way down the puck rebounded off of
Eric Tobia deflected off Michael Richards and eventually found its way
into the net. For the Bulls it was a break that the lowest ranked
team in the OHL's Eastern Conference could ill afford, as they plummet
towards playoff oblivion. Richards really got the crowd to its feet
when he deked around Tobia depositing the puck behind him giving the Rangers
a 2-0 lead.
Nathan O'Nabigon, who continues to hold the hot hand for the Rangers scored his 20th goal of the season early in the second period to give the Rangers a commanding 3-0 lead. Then finally Richards finally finished the hattrick just after the midway point of the second period while the Rangers were on one of only three powerplay opportunities. David Clarkson scored his 19th of the season minutes later to make the score 5-0. During a rare Belleville break the other way, Cody Thornton broke the Rangers' shutout, and his goal would be the last of the game. Making the final 5-1 Kitchener. Eric Tobia was replaced after allowing 5 goals on 41 shots during two periods by rookie: Thomas Samaris, who stopped all 15 shots sent in his direction.
Kitchener outshot Belleville 27-4 in a second
period clearly dominated by the hometown Rangers. Nathan O'Nabigon
became the third Rangers player to score 20 or more goals this season with
his second period tally. Like Michael Richards and Andre Benoit he
has scored twenty or more goals in each of his last two seasons in the
OHL. Michael Richards' hattrick helped vault him to the top of the
Rangers goal scoring race, one ahead of Benoit with 24 on the season, and
also into a tie with Benoit for the team point lead. Thomas Harrison
had one assist, his 8th of the seaosn which is also a career high.
Both David Clarkson and Petr Kanko are on the brink of scoring their 20th
goals this season, both are now tied for 4th on the team with 19 goals