Sometimes when things need to be done the best person to get the job done is yourself. Andre Benoit took that adage to heart on Friday night, with just over 5 minutes left in regulation and Benoit's point streak hanging in the balance, Andre Benoit charged into the Spitfires zone, took his own rebound and lifted it over Kyle Knechtel, thus extending his points streak to 11 games, leading amongst defenders. The goal put him alone in first, when compared to other defenders for his goals scored. Craig Voakes who scored 4 points (2-2) also extended his points streak to 10 games. The high-octane offense of the Rangers has scored a minimum of 4 goals in 9 straight home games, in the only other home ice matchup the Rangers scored three goals against the juggernaut Knights. The Rangers offense did take nearly two full periods before they were able to shift into overdrive.
When it comes to one-liners, Rangers' forward
David Clarkson is king, it's a safe bet that he would rather not be part
of a one-line team. Against the Spitfires it looks as if only Clarkson's
lines were capable of scoring on the Spits until late in this affair.
While in Windsor, Clarkson scored a pair and his linemates were responsible
for the only other goal, through nearly two periods on Friday night Clarkson
was responsible for both of the Rangers' goals. Craig Voakes broke
that string late in the second, and by games end he was joined by a pair
of other marksmen. Only 29 seconds in Clarkson took a feed from Richards
and simply blasted a one-timer past Knechtel, it appeared as if a romp
was in the making but the Rangers just didn't enjoy the required touch
around the net to open the game up. While the Spitfires were on the
man-advantage, Iain McPhee snuck in from the point unharassed an unknown
to the Rangers' and took a John Scott Dickson feed blasting it past DiRienzo.
Most of the season-high crowd of: 6142 felt that the Rangers had regained
the lead later in the period when Evan McGrath appeared to have shovelled
the puck over the goal-line, the goal-light went on, the official even
paused infront of the net. The next stoppage in play would lead to
a consultation with the goal judge and the conclusion of a no-goal call.
After a period filled with torment Mike Weber would draw Michael Richards
into a scrap resulting in an instigator penalty being assessed, Richards
would loose his temper in the second period and eventually be ejected from
David Clarkson restored the Rangers' lead in the second period zipping a puck past Knetchel, his 4th of the season in only two games to have beaten the young netminder. Craig Voakes started a run of four late game goals to break the game open late in the second period. His spectacular backhand reminiscent of his goal just one week earlier on Brown opened up a two goal lead as the Rangers headed for the dressing room. Early in the third period Craig Voakes got to work again intercepting a terrible Spitfires clearing attempt and blasting the puck through Knechtel's pads making the score 4-1 in favour of the Rangers. Minutes later the two smallest Rangers (courtesy of a trade that sent Gravelding to the Sting): Mike Duco and Justin Azevedo combined on a goal of their own. Duco intercepted a pass inside the blueline and slipped the puck over to Azevedo who enjoyed a mini-breakaway dumping the puck between the pads of Knechtel. Late in the period John Scott Dickson bested a helpless DiRienzo while the Spitfires were on their 6th powerplay of the night. Andre Benoit would answer the Spitfire goal and close out the scoring only 22 seconds after the Windsor tally.
The Rangers made a couple of minor moves which could have major impacts by the end of the season. Chris Gravelding was traded to the Sting for a 3rd round draft pick, and the Rangers signed Kevin Henderson a big Tier II winger from the Thornhill Thunderbirds. Evan McGrath, Craig Voakes, and Andre Benoit all continued their point scoring streaks. Craig Voakes' 11 goals already match the totals from his rookie season in the OHL and are only 5 shy of last season's totals. The Rangers have not allowed an even-strength goal in over 8 periods. The Rangers' home ice offense only ranks behind London's, currently averaging 5.1 goals per game. The Rangers' powerplay was shut down in their 3 opportunities.