It has truely been a frustrating season of one step forward followed by two steps back for the Rangers. The Rangers had a big victory on Friday night, but lost one of their star defenders: Boris Valabik, a costly injury with two of their sophomore already on the disabiled list. Once on the road in Plymouth the Rangers outplayed the Whalers for most of the first period, unfortuantely they left the period trailing by a 1-0 score after Jonas Feidler scored a later powerplay goal. Several Rangers came close on the Plymouth net, especially Mike Duco who wasn't able to connect on a pass and a top corner backhander by Michael Richards which just barely missed it's mark.
Gino Pisellini who had gone each of the previous
7 games without a point, scored his first of the season early in the second
period. Mike Knight drove a shot from the point on the Whalers' second
powerplay, Packwood kicked out a big juicey rebound and Pisellini didn't
make a mistake from infront of the net. Vaclav Meidl's 3-0 goal was
a little less desirable than the previous goals, from a near impossible
angle, Meidl banked the puck off of an unaware Mark Packwood, who left
the post. Unfortunately that mistake would be the last in a lackluster
outing by a still extremely promising 16 year old Rangers' netminder of
the future. Carlo DiRienzo who hadn't seen a start in 3 games returned
to the Rangers net prepared to lead the Rangers back. The change
would have appeared to give the team a spark, while on the powerplay, Friday
night's hero David Clarkson scored. Unfortunately Clarkson departed
early after a slash by: Mike Martinelli who received a minor immediately
after the goal. Unfortunately for the Rangers Clarkson would not
return. The Rangers had a few more casualties in the second period.
Joe McCann hit his head on the ice during a fight with: Ryan McGinnis,
and Mike Duco was clipped by an errant high stick by John Mitchell while
along the boards. Duco would return with a full cage on in the third.
In the third period Dan Collins caught Paul McFarland flat-footed around the Rangers' blueline, Kindl allowed Vigilante to make the pass and unfortunately the Rangers didn't have another defender back. Collins exploded by McFarland and proceeded to undress Carlo DiRienzo closing out the scoring for the Plymouth Whalers. Andrew Fournier had a fight with Michael Tuomi late in the game. It appeared as if the Rangers had no wind left in their sails going into their third game in three nights. It sure didn't help that they piled up injuries on the way.
The Whalers only had 2 powerplay opportunities,
they scored on both. The Rangers' penalty kill, ranked 19th, had
allowed a league high 12 powerplay goals against. The Rangers road
record fell to 0-3-1 with the loss. Mark Packwood was already the
third Rangers' netminder to absorb a road loss on the young season.
The loss in Plymouth was the Rangers 5th consecutive, after a triumphant
game 6 win in 2003 which might have been the single most important game
in the Rangers champion run. John Vigilante who factored in on both
Whalers powerplay goals was a the game's first star.