The Rangers tried to give the Plymouth Whalers a new look on Saturday night, they started Carlo DiRienzo as opposed to Brad Topping whom had started game one in Kitchener. Unfortunately scratching superstar center: Michael Richards, and replacing him with Jr. B callup: Joe McCann was probably not part of a bigger greater scheme from the Rangers. Richards injury only adds to an increasingly long list of Rangers' forwards who cannot play due to injury, that list has now increased to include: Richards, McFarland, Clarkson, Davis, and two players: Boucher and McGrath whom are playing injured. The Rangers did get off to a competent start without their top pivot, Evan McGrath beat Ryan Nie ending his long and agonizing scoreless drought. Unfortunately the Whalers struck for a pair of goals late in the period. First John Vigilante put a rebound past DiRienzo and then Andrew Fournier a callup for the Whalers who had also scored during the Whalers 3-2 loss on the final home night of the season for the Rangers. Fournier made the score 2-1 exactly one minute after Vigilante had scored. The Rangers appeared to have taken a 2-0 lead during the first period when what could have been a 2-0 goal for the Rangers was called back due to the Plymouth net coming dislodged.
Lady luck was wearing green during the second
period, as the Rangers were being outshot but still hanging tough with
the Whalers. The Whalers finally opened up the game when a point
shot deflected off of: Tim Sestito and knuckled into the top corner of
the net behind DiRienzo. Minutes later the Whalers were on a powerplay
when Petr Kanko stormed in shorthaned with Evan McGrath, he found McGrath
with time infront of the net, McGrath snapped a wrister over Nie but directly
off of the crossbar. On the return rush by the Whalers, they found
Wisniewski at the top of the point and he blasted the puck past DiRienzo
giving the Whalers a commanding 3 goal lead.
James Wisniewski got to work again early in the third period with the Whalers on another man advantage, another point blast and another goal giving the Whalers what appeared at the time to be an insurmountable lead. Fortunately for the many Rangers fans who made the trek to Plymouth, the Rangers just wouldn't give up in this one despite the 4 goal deficit. First Evan McGrath put a give and go past Ryan Nie while on a man advantage for this second of the game. With just over 6 minutes remaining: Peter Franchin pounced on a puck during a goalmouth scramble and took full advantage of a puck lying dangerously in the crease for his second of the postseason. John Mitchell, who scored the game one eventual winning goal filled the vacated Rangers' net late in the third period.
Both teams finished the game 2 for 4 on the
powerplay during what was a very well officiated game by Steve Webb.
James Wisniewski, who broke the game open in the late second and early
third period was the games' first star, followed by Waterloo native: John
Mitchell who scored the empty netter as well as assisting on both of Wisniewski's
two goals. Evan McGrath who scored a pair and nearly a third that
went off of the crossbar, was the games' third star. Both Carlo DiRienzo
and Joe McCann participated in their first OHL games, for DiRienzo it was
his first on ice performance in the 23 playoff games that he has been dressed