A win is like a rose, by any other name it's still a win, but we'll call this one an ugly win, at times boring too. The Greyhounds had a crowd of nealry 5,400 right where they wanted them, nearly comatose going into the third, but the Rangers came out strong and played what Evan McGrath called during the after game show on Country 570 "the best period of their season thus far." The game still raised reason for concerns amongst Rangers' fans. The Greyhounds had been outscored 3-1, and 7-4 in losses on home ice and in this matchup were playing without two of their brightest stars: World Jr. Championship teammate of Michael Richards as well as: top netminder: Jakub Cech. You would realize it at first glance at the score sheet but the Rangers' top scoring unit of Voakes, Richards and Keefe for the second straight game failed to score, Michael Richards did score a sensational goal early in the first period while double-shifting with rookies: Myles Applebaum and Jack Coombs, but overall the first unit looked frustrated. Adam Keefe spent 16 minutes in the sin bin in total, with the bulk of those minutes coming as a result of spirited fights with veteran defenders: Brad Good and Brad Staubitz. A pleasant surprise was the 2-point performance (his first two of the season) from rookie: Myles Applebaum, who had a strong night overall.
Michael Richards got the Rangers on the board
early and it appeared as if the Rangers were well on their way to victory
especially against a rookie netminder like: Kyle Gajewski who was playing
in his first game. Unfortunately nothing could have been further
from the truth. Gajewski had the Rangers frustrated and the Greyhounds
played a low-risk defensive game for the better part of 50 minutes before
the Rangers could break open a 2-goal lead. The Greyhounds evened
the score while on the powerplay in the first period, while rushing into
the zone Martin Tuma, a second year defender who failed to score all of
last season, netted his second of this young season with a floating wrist
shot that found the mark. This goal came shortly after Adam Keefe's
dust up with Brad Good, one of two very entertaining fights that Adam Keefe
was involved with. During the Adam Keefe scuffle, Boris Valabik found
himself engaged with Jordan Smith and those two also found their way to
the box with 10 minute misconducts. The Rangers answered back on
the powerplay, a powerplay which has struggled despite scoring in each
of the Rangers first three games thus far. Evan McGrath pounded a
rebound from a Andre Benoit point shot through Gajewski giving the Rangers
a 2-1 lead.
Kyle Gajewski really turned things up in the second period, stopping all 20 of the Rangers shots directed at him, no circus saves, but quickness as well as solid positioning helped the young netminder snuff out many of the best Rangers' opporunities, unfortunately while the second period was the highst for shots on goal it was also by far the longest, with constant icings on both sides of the puck. The Rangers had their chances, but each time were turned away by Gajewski, DiRienzo has some scares of his own but each time was equal to the task. Late in the period the Boris Valabik lost his man and the Greyhounds burst into the Rangers zone on a clear-cut two-on-one, a diving stop by Andre Benoit prevented the puck from getting infront of the net, and took away the Greyhounds' best opportunity to tie the game. The Rangers looked dominant to start the third period, while playing even strength at least, the powerplay seemed to fizzle at that point of the game. Midway through the period Evan McGrath lifted a rebound over Gajewski, and finally the Rangers had the illusive insurance goal. Moments later Carlo DiRienzo was forced to make his best save of the night, after making one solid stop, he was forced to make a very spectacular toe stop while stretching on the rebound, the Rangers faithful applauded their approval. The Rangers actually to finish the Greyhounds off during what was close to a two-minute two-man advantage late in the third, which was aided by a very marginal illegal equipment call to Andrew Desjardines for playing without a helmet.
After another very strong workhorse effort by Andre Benoit he was rewarded by a shot that barely crossed the line into the Greyhounds' empty net in the dying seconds of the game. Each of the netminders were first and second star respectively. Gajewski made several key stops to keep this game from becoming a blowout, including one breakaway stop on Adam Keefe. Evan McGrath was the third star for the Rangers on the strength of his two-goal effort, which included the winner. This was the last game of an 8-game suspension to David Clarkson to be served and he will return to the Rangers' lineup against the Erie Otters on Saturday night.