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Eliminated with hardly a whimper
 


Mike Duco crashes the crease, but Ryan Nie still manages to maintain focus on the puck.


No one expected a return to Plymouth to be easy for the Rangers, but after a 3-2 loss on home ice followed by a 5-4 victory, virtually no one, at least not any Rangers' fans could have imagined the demise of the Rangers taking place as it did, a 5-0 trashing at the hands of the Plymouth Whalers.  That's exactly what happened, after a stellar performance in Plymouth, Brad Topping didn't exactly appear to be on his game and wasn't really aided after numerous Whalers made contact with him aggrevating a groin injury.  As he has been all season long US World Junior gold medalist: James Wiesniewski was a constant thorn in the side of the Rangers.  In this one matchup Wisniewski accumulated 5 assists, giving him a total of 18 points during only 9 matchups against the Rangers during the 2003-'04 season and playoffs.

Mike Knight got the Whalers started early, scoring on the powerplay early in the first period with Nathan O'Nabigon in the penalty box, his point shot rung off of the far post before travelling into the back of the net.  Tim Sestito's goal late in the first period seemed to take any starch out of the loud Auditorium crowd which was litterally packed in to all of the corners, and standing areas.  The Rangers had chances of their own and despite missing the past couple of months Paul McFarland looked very strong early in the game, but faded as the game continued on.  Mike Letizia continued the death blow with a goal so early in the second period that most hadn't found their seats yet.



Adam Keefe and Paul McFarland both come close, but come up short during the third period.

The Whalers filled the Rangers' casket with a couple of nails in the third period.  First John Mitchell rung another puck off of the post and in on the powerplay and just over two minutes later he scored again chasing Brad Topping from the game.  Carlo DiRienzo would tend the Rangers' goal for the remainder of the game facing only 3 shots all of which were stopped.  During a Rangers' powerplay late in the third period, Petr Kanko somehow took 3 slapshots all of which were deflected by Mike Letizia in what must have been a painful display of defensive prowess by the Whalers' winger.

The Rangers were forced to play without the services of: Boucher, Clarkson, Richards and Davis, Paul McFarland returned, but with the amount of time he has spent away from game action his timing was off.  As always the final game of the year was sad time for the Rangers' and their fans alike, aside from the fact that there will not be hockey until September, but there are several Rangers who will not be back next season.  Those Rangers include overagers: Nathan O'Nabigon, Alex MacDonell, and Jesse Boucher.  There is also a very limited likelyhood that third year star: Petr Kanko will returning to the Rangers.  After a championship season the year prior the Rangers did extremely well playing in the strongest division in the OHL, and still managing to earn home advantage during the first round of the postseason.  Injuries to key forwards and the suspension to David Clarkson seemed to limit the Rangers ability to give the Whalers a big scare during the first round.