The Rangers have had just about enough of the John Labatt Center this season. They have allowed 7 goals against during each of their last three visits to London, and their last three games on the road, the Rangers have allowed 7 goals against in Plymouth and Erie as well. Fortunately the Rangers won't be visiting the JLC anymore this season, but they appear to be on a collision course with the Knights in the postseason if everything stays as is in the Western Conference and there are no playoff upsets. Carlo DiRienzo who has allowed only 3 goals in his last two games, both inter-divisional battles on home ice against the Guelph Storm and Erie Otters, was in net for all seven against the Knights but looked strong in the early going, eliminating rebounds throughout the first period. The only goal that the Knights managed to score was at the tailend of a two man advantage.
The strong play between the pipes would not
continue into the second period. Trevor Kell scored only 16 seconds
into the period and Rick Steadman and Khomutov added to the lead minutes
later. Nathan O'Nabigon finally got the Rangers on the board after
wandering through the Knights defense which had a rare breakdown and deking
Coleman. David Bolland's second powerplay marker soon after would
seem to quench any chance of a Rangers comeback. After being stalked
for most of the night and all of the previous game, Boris Valabik finally
decided to drop the gloves with Brandon Prust. The tilt did not at
all go as expected for Knights fans as Valabik dominated physically, landing
the majority of the punches, while keeping Prust at distance. While
Prust had his jersey over his head linesmen came in to stop the fight and
Prust seized the opportunity to land a cheap shot square on Valabik's chin.
The Rangers' received a powerplay due to the instigator penalty being assessed
to Prust and Adam Keefe scored his career high 17th of the season.
Moments later Chmielewski would receive a questionable kneeing penalty
forcing the Rangers to be on the penalty kill for the duration of the period.
During the third period the Rangers found themselves in a familiar spot, destined to allow 7 goals on the night, and that is exactly where they finished after goals by: Pottruff, and Kell who scored his second of the game and only 8th of the season. Petr Kanko replied with his 25th of the season for the Rangers. After a hit from behind by Craig Voakes, Josh Beaulieu dropped the gloves and very quickly dropped Voakes to the ice too! It was the third fight in what was otherwise a relatively calm game. Danny Bois also made short work of Anthony Pototschnik who was called up to the big team for the first time in a long while.
After dominating the Knights last season with
a 4-2 record (one of those loses in a meaningless game to end the season)
the Rangers find themselves 1-4 in the season series this year, with some
super-sized losses on the road to the Knights. The Rangers continued
without the services of: Deveraux Heshmatpour, Paul McFarland, David Clarkson,
Patrick Davis, and Brad Topping all of whom are injured at the time.
Though he appeared shaken after the fight with Prust, because of the haymaker
that he received to conclude the fight Boris Valabik did return for the
third period. Each team went 2 for 7 on the man advantage.
Surprisingly the Rangers outshot the Knights 37-35, but much of that can
be attributed to the quality of the shots on goal.