September 5th, 2004
As usual so much has changed and yet so much has stayed the game. Each of the last three years, the Rangers have run into the Generals on the day prior to Labour day. During last year's game the Rangers wore white, apparently this season it was Oshawa's turn to wear their white jerseys. Last season Mike Chmielewski was in on the Rangers first goal of the exhibtion campaign, this season, big number thirteen was in the midst of action when the Rangers knotted the score at one-a-piece early in the first period as well. As he did last season, Ryan Gibb was the man between the pipes for the Generals and while was wasn't meet with an onslaught of 59 shots, he was instrumental in leading the Gennies to a 3-3 with the Rangers allowing only one goal during his period and a half of play to start the game.
Only seconds into the game Mike Kavanagh blasted through the Rangers' defense and most notably a weak attempt at a body check by Boris Valabik, and beat newly acquired Rangers' netminder Eric Pfligler, who was sprawled out on the ice. The Rangers would get a tally of their own soon after however Joe McCann, an 18 year old with his hopes set on making the team the second time 'round beat Ryan Gibb after some very effective cycling of the puck by: Mike Chmielewski and Justin Azevedo deep in the Generals zone. The Rangers got a boost later in the period after a huge penalty kill, with a Ranger already serving a penalty Devereaux Heshmatpour was forced to take a penalty in order to nulify a Generals scoring opportunity. Boris Valabik served on the Rangers' blueline for nearly two full minutes and was instrumental in killing the two-man advantage. Undaunted the Generals continued to pressing to regain the lead. Late in the period after a outlet pass by: David Halasz, Brandon Tilley stepped into a tremendous slapper that beat Pfligler to the top corner.
The second period, now the fighting period
of choice brought it's share of fisticuffs, now the OHL has adopted an
exhibition rule that intales that all fighting majors will result
in game misconducts they have now added a single-game suspension to all
third period combatants. Anthony Pototschnik got things started when
he grabbed a hold of Oshawa's Bobby Davey, Pototschnik dominated the fight
sending Davey mercilessly into the ice at the conclusion of the scrap.
The main event, which turned out to be more of a hug-fest, was a scrap
between big Rangers' defender and fan favorite: Boris Valabik and 19-year-old
Oshawa rookie: Evans. Surprisingly in what can be called an upset,
Evans got the best of Valabik by the slimmest of margins though Valabik
did dominate the fight. Even more surprising was the strength that
Rangers' rookie: Justin Piquette displayed against Oshawa defender: Scott
Todd in a very short lobsided fight.
In the midst of all of the fighting there was hockey being played and the Rangers were victimized shorthanded when Andrew Gibbons took a Chris Hulit feed and beat Eric Pfligler giving the Generals a comfortable 3-1 lead. Midway thorugh the period the Generals brought their rookie netminder: Ben Thomas in to replace: sophomore Ryan Gibb. Thomas who is a very big goal, might reminder Rangers' fans of Dan Turple, one of the most underrated netminders in the league who is sure to be Oshawa's starting netminder when the season gets underway. With the Rangers in need of some scoring in the late going of the second period, Eric Pfligler got things started, Patrick Davis helped them along and Craig Voakes who spent much of the day centering the Rangers' top unit slammed a shot through Thomas' pads bringing the Rangers back to within one going into the locker room.
The third period wasn't particularly eventful, the Rangers changed netminders, giving underager: Mark Packwood his first taste of the OHL, he wasn't overly busy facing only 7 shots but he did make a eyebrow-raising glove stop in the third period with only minutes left on the clock, keeping the Rangers within striking distance. Patrick Davis would set Craig Voakes up for a second time, on the game-tying goal with only 1:01 remaining in regulation and prior to the Rangers' getting their netminder on the bench. Due to the nature of the exhibition games, there was no overtime.
Brandon McBride was the only overager dressed
for either club. Both Brett Trudell and Chris Petrow were healthy
scratches. McBride without coincidence was one of the strongest forwards
on the ice. The Rangers were without David Clarkson, Michael Richards,
Evan McGrath, Adam Keefe and Andre Benoit all who had the pleasure of being
dunked by Rangers' fans prior to the game at the Rangers fanfest.
Defenders: Matt Lashoff and Chris Gravelding were out due to sickness and
injury respectively. Fans in attendance were given a scare when Generals
blueliner Bret Nasby was crunched against the boards by Mike Duco only
moments into the second period, a stretcher would be produced however Nasby
would make it off the ice with some assistance on his own feet, to the
delight of Rangers fans who appaulded their approval, and well wishes.
Paul McFarland was the oldest Ranger dressed and wore the captains 'C'
for the afternoon.