Usually when there's a blowout between inter-conference rivals the two teams are a mismatch or there's little warning that the blowout is coming. Neither are true about the Kitchener Rangers and Sarnia Sting. The Sting were coming off of 6-1 and 7-2 trashings of the Plymouth Whalers and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds respectively, while riding the wave of a 7-game winning streak which included an overtime win over the Rangers in Kitchener. The Rangers did give them fair warning during the third period of that game, that they would provide a challenge the next time around, when they thoroughly dominated the third period and parts of overtime prior to a breakdown which led to the winning goal for the Sting. Still the Sting showed up infront of a sell-out crowd, extremely flat and the Rangers seemed relentless in the early going.
Paul McFarland scored just over two minutes in slapping a rebound past Ryan Munce who was booting the puck out too far for his own health on most of the shots that he faced during the first period. Seconds later: Jesse Boucher would find himself in the crease with more than enough opportunities to finally hack the puck over the stick of Munce giving the Rangers a 2 goal lead before most fans had a chance to get comfortable in their seats. O'Nabigon followed that goal, by scoring for the 4th time in the Rangers' last three games, and suddenly the score was 3-0. Shortly after Marco Capara picked a fight with Boris Valabik behind the Rangers' net, an unusual partner for the dimunitive Capara who has fought with Rangers' toughguy Thomas Harrison each game the two teams have played this season and again in the third of this matchup.
The last straw for Ryan Munce who has been
fantastic in most of the Sarnia Sting's games was a clear up the boards
that ended up on Adam Keefe's stick at the point. Keefe would storm
in and score shorthanded making the score 4-0 and chasing starter Munce
who clearly didn't show up with his 'A' game. Enter rookie John Barrow
who has seen limited ice time in only 5 starts, however was the first star
in the Sting's 7-2 victory over the struggling Greyhounds one night earlier.
Barrow closed the door for the duration of the first period, a period inwhich
Boris Valabik added 10 minutes in penalties to his team leading total of
215 minutes as of the end of the game. Valabik fought with John Hecimovic
who fell on the Rangers' rookie and landed most of the fights punches while
the two were on the ice.
The Sting finally got on the board in the early going of the second period. As they were prepared to go on a shortened two man advantage, coach Greg Walters elected to call a timeout to jumpstart the powerplay, the Sting were finally able to score on tail end of the two man advantage. Dan Sisca scored his 25th of the season, bring the Sting back to within one. The Sting dominated the first half of the second period but Rangers' starter: Carlo DiRienzo was there each time to shut the door, with some spectacular saves which stole momentum from the Sting and allowed the Rangers to get themselves back into gear during the latter half of the period. The end of the period would feature a flurry of opportunities. Richards would steal the puck at center ice while the Rangers were shorthanded (again) streak through the Sting defense and restore the Rangers' 4 goal lead. Immediately afterwards Dan Carcillo would feed Dan Fristche at the side of the Rangers' goal and just like that the Sting powerplay clicked again. Michael Richards got to work again during the final minute of the period scoring his second of the night and 5th in the last two games to again break the spirit of the Sting.
During the third period the Sting elected to put Ryan Munce back into the net to allow him to regain his confidence. The Rangers started the second period with a full two minute two man advantage, and as has been the case of late the powerplay was the only thing not working on this night for the Rangers, who had a very strong effort from the netminder out. The penalties occured at the 20 minute mark when frustrated Sting players were trying to cause some chaos at the buzzer near the Sarnia bench. Munce had a very strong third period, allowing one goal a Deveraux Heshmatpour wrister which was slapped in by Boucher for his second of the night, and again Carlo DiRienzo was there to shut the door on the Sting at the Rangers' end.
Dan Sisca and Daniel Carcillo combined for
four points on this night (1 goal, 3 assists) unfortuantely for the Sting
they also recorded a combined -12. Richards for the second straight
night was the first star for the Rangers he had 2 goals and one assist
following up a 3 goal performance the night before. The Rangers finished
the season series with the Sting with a 2-1-1 mark after 4 games.
The Rangers have won each of their last 3 road games as well as each of
their last 3 overall. The Rangers entered the game tied with the
Sting, afterwards they climbed to third overall in the OHL only behind
Guelph and London.