The Rangers modest 3 game home winning streak came to an end infront of a province wide television audience, however it wasn't for lack of effort. The Rangers after being outshot in the first the Rangers returned in the next two periods and outshot the London Knights 30-25 overall infront of a crowd of 5,823 who seemed very displeased by the officiating of Terry Hobor throughout the night. On more than one occasion the bulk of the crowd started to really voice its displeasure with Hobor and more than often some of the questionable tactics of the London Knights. A great effort by the Rangers, but the Rangers now tied with the Whalers for the 4th and final home advantage playoff spot in the west, desperately neded a win, they only have 3 wins during their last 13 games.
Things started off on a very physical tone.
Danny Bois elected to take a shot at Rangers' netminder: Carlo DiRienzo
moments after a whistle, something that Boris Valabik was quick to take
exception to. Soon after Michael Richards was just blasted into the
boards by Brandon Prust, this time it was Petr Kanko who decided to stick
up for his teammate. Unfortunately Kanko would land himself in the
penalty box for a total of 17 mintues as he received the instigator penalty.
Rob Schremp of the Knights scored on the man advantage from a very tight
angle, the lazer accurate shot found its way into the top corner immediately
after Schremp picked it up, with DiRienzo still trying to determine where
the puck did end up after it hit the boards. Daniel Bois and Terry
Hobor would again raise the ire of the Rangers fans when he elected to
slam Evan McGrath, who didn't have the puck, into the ice. Terry
Hobor missed the hit and again another Rangers would attempt to make the
Knights atone for their actions. Clarkson received the second Rangers'
instigator call of the night much to the dismay of Rangers fans who sounded
livid with the call.
The second was an all-new story for the Rangers. They controlled the play outshooting the Knights 12-1 at one point, however could not beat Ryan MacDonald who was extremely sharp on this night. The Rangers even had a shortened 2-man advantage but they were unable to break the London shutout. Finally Nathan O'Nabigon would be the triggerman for the Rangers. A seemingly harmless: Boris Valabik point shot would be tipped into the top corner of the London net past Ryan MacDonald one of the smallest netminders in the OHL. Soon after Valabik would go from hero to zero for the Rangers. He received a very questionable holding call very late in the second period and Elmira native: Dennis Wideman was just barely able to capitalize from the point on the powerplay. Andre Benoit dug the puck out of the net just a half second too late. Upon returning to the ice Valabik was assessed a 10-minute misconduct which also proved to be very costly for the Rangers, and extremely unpopular with Rangers fans as well.
Corey Perry would give the Knights a commanding 3-1 lead early in the third period as he Sheppard caught the Rangers deep in their own zone in need of a change. It would appear that the game was no longer in question at that point. At around the four minute mark some fans started making their way to the exit early. The Rangers would not give up however, with Daniel Bois in the box for Interference Michael Richards would snap the puck off the post, Nathan O'Nabigon would quickly take that rebound and fill the night. Fortunately on the very same play, Dennis Wideman would take an extremely ill advised cross-checking minor putting the Rangers back on the powerplay again. They came oh so close to tying the game but David Clarkson's chance with the 6th Rangers attacker on the ice rung off of the crossbar.
The loss against the league leading London
Knights was the 4th straight for the Kitchener Rangers. All three
games played between the two teams in Kitchener have been one goal games
including a 4-3 overtime Rangers' victory. t.