Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

Site searchWeb search


 
Rangers lucky to escape first, Spits lucky to get a point
 


Michael Richards and Andre Benoit come up short while shorthanded, the Rangers penalty kill was
extremely strong, and even netted a goal in the third period.


A chaotic first period set the tone for what was an ugly shot happy affair between a pair of teams trying to prove that they belong amongst the OHL's elite, at night's end the Rangers appeared to be by far the better team, something that just simply wasn't reflected on the scoreboard, perhaps maybe it was on the penalty sheet where the Rangers suffered having been asssessed more than 8 minutes in penalties than the Spitfires including an incredible 3 two-man advantages, two of which were a full two minutes long.  Clarkson led things off with his first of the season very early in the game, a flukey goal that somehow snuck through Knetchel.  What ensued in the next couple of minutes was the chaos that Windsor fans were more familiar with in the days of Jeff Kugel.  The catalyst, a late hit by the Rangers' marksman: David Clarkson, which led to all 10 players on the ice squaring off with one another.  Official Joe Park was easy on both teams assessing majors and misconducts to both Iain McPhee (instigator) and Andre Benoit (jersey tie-down), Brett Lisacomb followed Kitchener's Evan McGrath to the box with double minors for each.

After enjoying an early powerplay the Rangers would find themselves in what proved to extreme penalty trouble when Devereaux Heshmatpour drove Jeff Leavitt into the end boards from behind and was assessed a match penalty.  Jeff Leavitt did not return after the incident, and looked dazed when he eventually made it off of the ice.  Somehow the Rangers struggled through this adversity with only 4 defenders at their disposal, a closing the hand on the puck minor to Michael Richards in the middle of the major would further complicate things.  The kill would require some heroics by the Rangers' resident tough guy Boris Valabik who was literally on the ice for all 2 minutes of the penalty.
 



Mike Duco nets his first goal of the season on a second period powerplay.


After surviving the first period, the Rangers looked to kick things into high gear in the second.  David Clarkson had a clear-cut breakaway but was thwarted by Knetchel at the side of the net as he attempted to go backhand.  At the other end John Scott Dickson snuck behind Pfligler who was out very far to cut down the angle and simply tapped the puck past the Rangers' netminder from the side of the crease.  Mike Duco replied with his first of the season on the powerplay, in Voakes' absence he was seeing time on the Rangers' top line for much of the night, he simply slipped a rebound that Knetchel couldn't find into the net.  Only 24 seconds later Cal O'Reilly replied, on a feed from David Lomas knotting the score at two each.  Things looked tough in the second half of the period for the Rangers' their top two defenders: Boris Valabik and Andre Benoit picked up minors at the same time, leaving the Rangers extremely vulnerable with only rookies: Matt Pepe, Dan Gyenes, and Jakub Kindl to patrol the blueline.  Surprisingly the Spitfires powerplay would again dissapoint, and the best chance might have belonged to: Michael Richard who had a clear breakaway until he was hooked from behind, shockingly no penalty was called despite the constant parade of Rangers to the box at that time.

The Rangers retook the lead very early in the third period.  One of those goals were no one sees it happening until the puck is in the net.  Which shorthanded, Evan McGrath chipped the puck towards the net, and David Clarkson simply chopped the puck in out of mid-air.  The Spitfires finally replied with a powerplay goal of their own, after one rebound too many John Scott Dickson deposited the puck into a partially vacated Rangers' net to tie the game.  The Rangers were granted a powerplay late in overtime but despite a couple of chances, really didn't have the time to work with to score in the 36 seconds.  The shots finished a generous 46-38 Rangers, generous because most of the Spitfires shots were taken while the Rangers were shorthanded.  Jeff Leavitt nor Brett Lisacomb returned for the Spitfires.  For the second straight game the Rangers played without the services of Craig Voakes and the Rangers road record dropped to winless in 3 (0-2-1).