Brad Topping has had a tough year, in Brampton and now in Kitchener, despite the strong reception by Rangers fans who quickly embraced the netminder, he has struggled of late, especially on home ice. This time around the Rangers were outplayed in the first, dominated in the second period and then finally with little work in the third period a Fred Hatziioannou found its way through a maze of players on either side and into the back of the net. 6'5" Turple, at the other end of the ice, appeared to fill too much of the net. The Rangers continually shot wide, and when called upon big Turple flashed quick leather on Rangers' shooters. For the first time in a Rangers' uniform Topping finally looked at home, shedding his black, yellow, and green equipment for some brand new red, white and blue pads.
The Rangers got themselves into penalty trouble
early in the game. First Thomas Harrison picked up a the instigator
penalty in a fight with heavy hitter: Ben Eager who seemed all too 'eager'
to annoy the Rangers and their fans. Then Deveraux Heshmatpour got
the gate immediately after with a not too well thought out checking from
behind minor. Paul Rangers' point shot snuck through a crowd infront
giving the Generals a 1-0 lead. The Rangers did manage to kill the
remainder of the second minor but ran into more trouble later in the period.
With Chris Hulit moving quickly towards the Rangers' net on a partial break
Topping dove sideways to take away the bottom half of the net, some persistence
later, and Hulit finally brought the puck around Topping with Rangers'
defenders all over him and fired the puck into the goal past the outstretched
arms of the Rangers' netminder.
The Rangers finally gained some momentum in the second period. That momentum translated into infractions for the Generals who were trying to contain the Rangers offenisve attack, and as it did for the Generals a two-man advantage would translate into a kick-start for the Rangers' offense. It did, but it would take the Ranges significantly longer than it did for the Generals the first penalty assessed for too many men on the ice by the Generals. Craig Voakes would emerge from behind the Generals net with the puck and using the men infront as a decoy he would slip the puck over the shoulder and into the top corner of the net to finally get the Rangers on their feet. Later in the period, the 'boo-birds' got their moment in the sun. With a stroke of bad luck on a deflected puck Jesse Boucher found himself leaving the Rangers' zone alone with the puck. With anticipation boiling over Boucher tucked the puck inbetween Turple's pads and Turple backed into the net with the puck bringing the Rangers back even.
During the third period the Rangers again dominated, outshooting the Generals 10-4, but it wasn't to be the Rangers night. Fred Hatziioannou's point shot, found it's way through a crowd infront and into the Rangers' net. The goal was only his 2nd of the season. The Rangers would empty their goal for the final minute of regulation but Oshawa's defense would stand tall and thwart any Rangers' advances into the offensive zone. Thomas Harrison struggled in his fight with Ben Eager. Eager frustrated several Rangers, including David Clarkson and Boris Valabik. David Clarkson dropped his gloves infrustration after a hit by Eager, and Valabik took Eager's leg throwing the big forward into the ice. Mike Chmielewski found himself out of the lineup again, however Jesse Boucher and Cam Fergus did return.
The Rangers who were so dominate on home ice
going unbeaten in 15 games, have now lost 4 of their last 6 home games.
Seemingly against all odds the Rangers' have started to win on the road,
taking victories in each of their last three road games, including a matchup
in Oshawa against the Generals. The game with the Generals was the
last out of conference game left in the Rangers' schedule this season.
The loss broke up their undefeated season against the Eastern division.