After winning the past two Great Canadian Challenges (winner of the Kitchener Rangers - Guelph Storm season series) by margins of 3-2-3, and 5-1-2, the Rangers finally fell 2-5-1 to the Storm this season, with the final result of the season series not in question going into the action, it was still an important game for both teams. For the Guelph Storm it was a good ole' fashion playoff tune up, and a last gasp effort at 1st place overall. For the Rangers the odds were even higher, home advantage during the first round of the postseason, the Rangers because of their current slump are now tied with the Whalers for fourth place overall with only 3 games left in the regular season including action in Guelph.
The Rangers started off on a role, they brought
a physical element very early in the game, and drove to the net really
well. The Rangers would be rewarded for their efforts when Nathan
O'Nabigon found Craig Voakes out infront of the net all alone and Voakes
made little mistake in blasting a one-timer flawlessly into the top corner
of the net giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Things would sour quickly
for the Rangers however. With Alex MacDonell in the penalty box,
Ryan Callahan made the Rangers pay, scoring late in the powerplay.
David Clarkson took some liberties after taking a shot infront of the Rangers'
bench, causing: Brent Trudell to stick up for his teammate, Clarkson and
Trudell fought, and despite the fact that Trudell was guilty of starting
the fight, the Storm went to the powerplay, on the ensuing faceoff Michael
Richards was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty. Early in the two-man
advantage Matt Ryan would get a lucky bounce to give the Storm their first
lead, Kyle Spurr would score soon after with the Storm still on the man
advantage to give the Storm a commanding 3-1 lead.
The Rangers would attempt to come on to the ice with lots of energy as they did during the first, trying to battle back, however Daniel Paille cut those aspirations short very quickly. When Michael Richards replied, Paille added yet another goal only 18 seconds later, re-establishing the 3-goal lead. Jacuk Koreis scored a soft goal turning the game into an absolute romp. Adam Keefe battled hard to get the Rangers back in the game, he finally pounded a rebound past Taylor who had a strong game, despite allowing 4 goals against in total. The Rangers got a golden opportunity to get back into the game when Martin St. Pierre took a double-minor for hitting from behind. Koreis would contribute a slashing minor giving the Rangers a two-man advantage. Petr Kanko would capitalize on the two-man advantage, however the Rangers would fail to close the gap any further, even with the Storm left shorthanded and still on their heals.
The Storm started the third period with a penalty
killing clinic and Jakub Koreis ended the period with a clearing attempt
which took a Guelph curl into the vacated Rangers' goal with under two
minutes left. Despite the frustrating loss cooler heads on both sides
would prevail. The Rangers finished the season 1-2-1 in Guelph, and
now are guaranteed their first ever losing season under head coach Peter
DeBoer. Deveraux Heshmatpour rejoined the Rangers, but Patrick Davis
who had just returned from injury was not seen after the first period.
The loss was the Rangers 6th straight on the road.