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Rangers escape disasterous first only to fall in overtime
 


Mark Fraser is about to knock a dangerous puck out of the Rangers' crease.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


Apparently Erie netminder: Jhase Sniderman decided that he didn't want to be 'Spiderman' any more.  Sniderman has become somewhat of a topic of conversation in the OHL due to his mask that was painted to resemble Spiderman's mask.  You couldn't have known that he gave up the spider gig, after having several shots that went off of the posts which are surrounded by webbed net behind him.  Still one could argue that the the Rangers have bug problems, given their lackluster 2 goals on Sniderman, and 2 against the Sting, a Sarnia team that has a wasp or bee like logo sported on everyone's jersey.  Back-to-back losses for the first time their home-at-home series to kick off the season against the rival London Knights.  In fact the Rangers haven't lost back-to-back games since opening weekend, nor have they had any other sub .500 weekends since that point.  Continuing that trend will prove difficult as the Rangers will follow up this home loss with a pair of very difficult games in Plymouth and then Windsor to finish the weekend set.

It wasn't immediately evident that the Rangers had started flat, they did blast a couple of pucks off of posts in the early going including an Andre Benoit point drive sight unseen to Sniderman in the Otters goal.  From that point on it was all Otters, all Otters and Rangers' starter: Dan Turple who was there to turn them aside at seemingly every opportunity.  Otters' sniper: Geoff Platt, who leads the entire OHL in goals with 25, had two point blank opportunities and both times was sent back frustrated by Turple who appeared to turn away the shots with ease.  Late in the period on the man-advantage the Rangers finally broke the ice Mike Duco scored his 11th of the season giving the Rangers their only lead of the night, Justin Azevedo found him standing at Sniderman's doorstep and Duco made little mistake, for Duco it was his 3rd straight game with a goal.  The goal was not indicative of a productive Rangers' powerplay, infact DeBoer had sent out most of the Rangers' third line for the man advantage as the veteran 'snipers' had trouble lugging the puck into the zone earlier in the period.


Adam Keefe makes a diving attempt for the puck late in the game.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com

The Rangers seemed to get up to speed in the second period but the exact opposite result occured, Brett MacLean waited long enough and drew Turple away from the post while stepping into the zone zipping a writster into the top of the net.  Minutes later while on the powerplay newcoming Andrew Hotham (just acquired from the Barrie Colts) snuck in from the point and one-timed a cross-crease pass past Turple giving the Otters their first lead of the game.  In the third period the Rangers pressed and finally were rewarded while on the powerplay Matt Lashoff sent a point shot through a healthy-sized screen infront of the Otters' net bringing the Rangers back even.  Justin Azevedo had a glorious chance late in the game that had most fans thinking that they had won the game, but couldn't get the puck to cross the goal line at the side of the net.  Late in overtime with the Rangers on the man-advantage, Platt intercepted an ill-fated and horrible pass around the blueline went in all alone on Turple and just barely beat the Rangers' netminder glove side.

The win for the Otters stopped a 9-game winless string at the Memorial Auditorium (0-8-1), it also stopped the Rangers' 9 game home unbeaten streak and broke up Andre Benoit's point scoring streak which stalled at 15 games, Benoit did ring a puck off of the inside of the goal post in the first period.  Boris Valabik returned to the Rangers' lineup and although slow on his feet being his first game back in a while, he was up to his usual tricks, accumulating 8 minutes all in roughing minors.  Patrick Davis left the game very early injured, and David Clarkson appeared to struggle with the puck at his feet while wearing a full-cage..