The Rangers and Petes were both teams going in the same direction going into the game, the Rangers had dropped a sobbering 5-4 decision on home ice then came up with an inspirational effort on the road in Toronto where they won 2-0. The Petes had just absorbed a 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the Sudbury Wolves, but got back on track on the eve of their matchup with the Rangers dominating in a 7-1 victory over the Plymouth Whalers. Though the Rangers and Petes left this matchup with the same 4 goals scored, and one point for the tie, the teams left heading in different directions. The Rangers had their third consecutive, three consecutive goal meltdown and the Petes pulled out an improbable comeback scoring 3 goals in just over four minutes to deadlock the game at 4.
It was the Petes who got off to a quick start
in this one, carrying some of the momentum that they had gained in the
game on the previous night. Patrick Kaleta intercepted a pass, and
jammed in his own rebound past DiRienzo from a bad angle, Kaleta's would
be the last bit of Petes offense for nearly two periods. Joe McCann's
first career goal ended a rather lengthy and chaotic scramble around the
Petes' netminder: Eero Kilpelainen. Later in the period Waterloo
native: Greg Stewart went toe-to-toe with Paul McFarland immediately off
of the faceoff, a dominant victory for Stewart, but unfortunately for the
Petes little in the way of momentum. The Rangers continued where
they left off and continued to dominate the Petes, outshooting them 19-5
during the course of the first period, Michael Richards gave the Rangers
their first lead of the period with a nasty wrister while playing between
rookies: Mike Duco and Jack Combs.
After a less than desirable first period the Petes seemed to right the ship in the second, they peppered 20 shots on DiRienzo highlighted by a top corner point-blank wrister by Jordan Staal. Jordan, the 2nd youngest of the Staal family which produced NHLer: Eric Staal (once a Pete) was simply robbed by DiRienzo who had a very strong middle frame. DiRienzo shut the door during the second period, and the Rangers finally got some breathing room real late. With Jordan Morrison in the box for slashing while attempting to free the puck which DiRienzo had covered, the Rangers' scoring leader Evan McGrath who entered the game with 20 points bested the Petes' Finnish netminder: Kilpelainen giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead going into the intermission. The Rangers would continue where they left off in the third period, after a too-many men penalty to the Petes, Mike Duco zipped a puck into the top corner of the net to give the Rangers a commanding 4-1 lead. Somehow it turned out to be a very short lived 3 goal lead, 7 seconds later 4th year Pete: Jamie Tardif blasted a shot past DiRienzo from the faceoff circle area and the comeback was on.
During a goalmouth scramble only 36 seconds later, Trevor Hendrikx another 4th year Pete found himself with the puck he quickly slapped it past DiRienzo for his league-leading 6th goal of the season (leading defender in goals scored). Minutes later Daniel Ryder would score the equalizer. Ryder looked deadly while killing penalties, finally scored in this affair giving him 4 goals in his last two games. Craig Voakes would have the single best chance in regulation time, he received a one-timer pass from Michael Richards at the side of the goalmouth and unfortunately drove the puck wide. In overtime the best chance went to Liam Reddox who took a breakaway when Jakub Kindl appeared to think that a clearing pass was going for icing. Patrick Kaleta as he always does was out on the ice causing trouble, he drew a pair of Rangers' penalties and late in the second period had to finally answer to Adam Keefe who drew an instigator penalty for his efforts. Keefe struggled early in the fight, but then surged back convincingly beating Kaleta into the ice. A large contingent of Petes fans came by bus, and really errupted when the Petes started scoring in the third. Both the Petes and Rangers were playing without the services of 3 regular defenders each.