It was one of those awkward games that had Rangers' historians quickly flipping through the record books trying to determine the last time the Rangers had a pair of three goal efforts. What made the feat all the more unique was that Evan McGrath and David Clarkson are linemates, and that the Rangers did only score 6 goals. Somehow this shouldn't be surprising to those who watched the Rangers play in Windsor where Evan McGrath tallied points on each of the Rangers 3 goals, and though David Clarkson scored a pair, he could have easily scored more. On Friday night Clarkson turned more than a trick, he potted three goals, three assists, en route to a plus-3 night. He even displayed some generousity feeding the puck to Evan McGrath to score his own hattrick with on the empty net.
After only picking up one point of a possible
two in Windsor, the Rangers started Friday night in similar fashion, lots
of shots on goal, not much to show for them, eventually Evan McGrath picked
up a rebound and scouped it over Ryan Nie while on the powerplay.
The Rangers after a dominant first period carried a one-goal lead into
the second period. Unfortunately the first period proved very costly,
a thundering hit by Tim Sestito behind the Rangers' net left big Boris
Valabik crumpled in a pile behind the Rangers' net. Devereaux Heshmatpour
tried to settle the score throwing off his gloves, but found himself thwarted
as Sestito ducked. Minutes later Michael Richards would try to atone
for what happened to Valabik, Richards squared off with: Tim Sestito, you
could say that the two traded blows, but Sestito spent the whole fight
on the receiving end of some heavy blows by the Rangers captain before
the two tumbled to the ice with Richards on top drawing a standing ovation
from the Aud crowd.
Jonas Fiedler got the Whalers back on even terms early in the second period when Waterloo native: John Mitchell intercepted a bad pass by Eric Pfligler then fed the puck to Fiedler who unleashed a one-timer that beat Pfligler. David Clarkson regained the Rangers' lead on the powerplay later in the period, another rebound and goalmouth scramble. Evan McGrath rising shot was tipped in by Clarkson. The Rangers then got a huge stop by Pfligler making up for his earlier indescretion, while killing a penalty the Rangers' had a bad but very necessary line change and got caught out of position. Jakub Kindl was stranded between Vigilante and Sestito, played the shooter way over at the boards leaving the shooter alone infront of the net, Pfligler made a spectacular diving poke check to negate the opportunity! Clarkson's second of the night sent the Rangers into the dressing room with a 3-1 lead, a low blast stick side on .
The Rangers got off to a quick start in the
third period. Evan McGrath found a David Clarkson rebound tucking
it under Ryan Nie's back. Nie thought that the puck was frozen but
unfortunately for him it was lying at the side of the crease. That
4-1 goal chased Nie from the Whalers' net, he was replaced by rookie: Justin
Garay. The Whalers didn't give up and their new netminder was the
rally call that they needed. Captain Tim Sestito took a pass while
on the powerplay from Dan Collins and made no mistake one-timing the shot
past Pfligler who tried to go coast to coast. Immediately afterwards
it was Sestito's turn to feed Collins, Collins spun around and threw the
puck in against the flow to bring the Whalers within one. Somehow
you just knew that Clarkson and McGrath hadn't had enough with just 4 goals
between them. Evan McGrath landed a thundering hit forcing a turnover
pass which landed on Clarkson's stick near the point. He sold Garay
on the shot, pulled the puck down and deked for a brilliant goal.
With the Whalers netminder pulled for the extra attacker David Clarkson
gave an empty net shot to his linemate who was short a goal for his own
hattrick. Clarkson's motivation? They didn't have to deal with
me in the postseason last year, he wanted them to both see and understand
what they missed out on!