The 'real season' has started and the Rangers start behind the preverbial eight-ball, in their quest for the divison title that the Knights took from them last season. For the second straight year writers are predicting the OHL's midwest divison to be the toughest. Fans and writers alike often draw comparisons to previous seasons, somehow this game seemed to follow the script laid out during the 2003-'04 season, the second half at least where the Rangers seemed to delight the hometown crowd, but somehow find themselves falling short, and at the same time, feeling as if they perhaps deserved a better fate. This night was no different as the Rangers held a 45-27 shooting edge, but were often thwarted by big 6'4" netminder: Gerald Coleman. The Rangers can only hope a break in the script emerges as they face the Knights in the return match on Sunday afternoon in London. The Rangers lost all three of their games in London last season and each time allowed 7 Knights goals, a trend that they can ill afford not to break this season, should they chose to challenge for the division.
Kitchener fan favorite: Corey Perry got the
Knights on the board very early, with Jakub Kindl in the box for checking
from behind, Perry stepped through a pair of Rangers defenders with some
nice finishing moves beat DiRienzo. Gerald Coleman got an assist
on the clear out of the zone. The Rangers offense needed a kick start.
Minutes later, Shawn Futers, recently acquired from the Peterborough Petes
started an infraction that would result in a scrap with popular Rangers
rookie: Mike Duco, Futers took the extra two for slashing, and things seemed
to go downhill from there for the Knights. Marc Methot look a slashing
penalty and during the same stoppage in play Robbie Drummond felt it necessary
to mow over a few Rangers putting the Knights into some serious penalty
trouble. The Rangers powerplay stalled though, failing to score during
a two-man advantage that lasted nearly two full minutes. The Rangers
failed to score while up two-men but the rather anxious home crowd got
their chance to errupt when Andre Benoit snapped a wicked shot into the
Ranger fortunes appeared to be on the up and up, early in the second period. Brandon Prust took a match-penalty for slewfooting early leaving the Rangers with a 5 minute powerplay. 23 seconds into the powerplay the Rangers scored, Craig Voakes snapped the puck past Coleman during a scramble. Unfortunately they would nulify the remainder of the powerplay with a double-minor for butt-ending. Rob Schremp brought the Knights back end with a glove side wrister that seemed to fool DiRienzo who was moving the wrong direction on the shot. Only minutes later the Knights regained the lead, Rob Schremp once again, this shot coming from a terrible angle seemed to somehow confuse Carlo DiRienzo who had the puck deflect through his legs after striking his pad. The Rangers stumbled upon more bad luck in the third, Danny Syvret blasted a point shot which ricocheted painfully off of Mike Duco's leg eventually finding it's way into the Rangers net, perplexing DiRienzo in the process.
The Rangers seemed to struggle in creating opportunities, but after a time out late the Rangers were pressing, eventually Craig Voakes dug up a rebound and beat Gerald Coleman, but with only 4.7 seconds left on the clock prompting a Knights time out, but eventually resulting in the inevitable Rangers loss 4-3. Each of the 4 Knights goals came with the man advantage, the only even strength goal was scored by the Rangers with the net vacated in favour of an extra attacker. Craig Voakes has now scored 2 goals in each Rangers home game, both exhbition and regular season. Myles Applebaum had to leave early after taking a puck to the face. Michael Tuomi, Chris Gravelding and Matt Lashoff sat out with illness and injures, while David Clarkson was forced to the sidelines due to a continuing suspension from the 2003-'04 season. The Rangers held a shooting edge in all three periods. Dale Hunter was absent from the Knights bench for his part in a rather large exhibition brawl against the Otters in Woodstock. One part of the script left untouched thankfully was the Knights victory celebration which was kept within traditional hockey values..