The Rangers losing ways continued with their 6th straight loss in Plymouth to the Whalers. While the Rangers offence was generating ample opportunities, even on the powerplay, defensive lapses continued to create a situation where the goaltenders were being left to cover multiple open players, who for the second night in a row burried easy opporunities into the open side of the net. The Rangers again dressed 7 defencemen, and only 10 forwards. With David Clarkson sitting out with an injury and Cam Fergus and Matt Pepe unavailable with the Cambridge Winterhawks for their playoffs, the team was again starting a man short.
Brad Topping received the nod as the starter
for the second straight night, and for the second night he was pulled barely
half way into the first having given up 3 goals. Jesse Boucher started
the game off quickly for the rangers with his 20th goal of the season 4:31
into the game. Unfortunately it would be the last lead for the Rangers
as they allowed the Whalers to walk in and score 13 seconds later to tie
the game. The Whalers scored 3 more goals to round out the period, driving
Topping from the game after their third. Adam Keefe destroyed Joans Fiedler
who did not return to the game with a possible shoulder injury based on
the linesmans indications to the Referee as he left the ice.
Jesse Boucher potted his second of the game early in the second to make it look like the Rangers may be showing signs of life, and for the next 12 minutes the Rangers had ample opportunities to crawl back into the game. two consecutive 5 on 3 opportunites lead to a number of good scoring opportunites, however the team could not bury any. Vaclav Meidl scored at the 13:51 mark with Michael Richards rushing back down the ice to score 11 seconds later to again pull the rangers within 2 goals of the Whalers. Gino Pisellini and Adam Keefe got into a tussle after the faceoff with the result being a draw, but Pisellini continued punching after the linesmen came in earning him an extra 10 in the box. The third period continued much the same with the Rangers buzzing around the Whalers net but unable to beat Paul Drew. Late in the period with DiRienzo pulled one of the Rangers weaknesses re-appeared as they were unable to win offensive zone faceoffs and control the puck off the draw. This plagued the team all night, but was painfully obvious late in the game as Michael Richards was visibly disgusted with his inability to win draws.
The Rangers powerplay continues to be a non-factor going 1 for 8 on the night, including failing to score on two 5 on 3's within a 2 minute span in the second period. The powerplay is now 4 for 36 in the teams last 5 games. Jesse Boucher's opening goal gave him 20 for the year, making him the 6th Ranger player to score 20 or more this season. Adam Keefe, Craig Voakes and Evan McGrath all have an opportunity to reach the 20 goal plateau with 15 goals each and 10 games remaining in the season. The Whalers sent a near capacity crowd of 3677 home happy, and have taken both home games against the Rangers this year to lead the season series 2-1, with a game on the 12th in Kitchener to close out the season series.
Commentary and Game Photos by Duct Tape