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Keefe dominates scoresheet, Richards dominates Whalers

Ryan Nie makes a cartwheel stop during the second period with Richards and Clarkson in close.
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Leave it up to the Rangers to bounce back from what had to be the most devastating loss of the season on Friday night against division rival Erie Otters, the Rangers were struggling and they were playing against the odds, the Whalers, while winless on the road entered the game with a 10-2-2 mark on home ice, the Rangers also struggled in Compuware Sports Arena losing each of their last 5 games there including a pair of playoff matchups there.  Still, a rebound from their two-game losing streak started one week ago in nearby Sarnia would be just what the doctor ordered in the instance of the Rangers who many would argue are in a bit of a mini-funk, if not worse.  Mike Duco, one of the only steadying influences on the team scored in his 4th straight game giving him 12 on the season.  Dan Turple for the second straight night seemed to have many opposition shooters guessing and hopping more often than aiming and shooting.  At the end of the day it was a hard-earned defensive-minded win over the Whalers who had previously had their number, at least on home ice.

The first period saw a pair of individuals leave the ice early.  First, official: Darcy Burchell took a clearing shot hard to the face, and departed soon after receiving attention from Rangers trainer Dan Lebold.  Soon afterwards, Vaclav Meidl took a five-minute boarding major for running Jakub Kindl into the boards hard, from an unsafe distance, he also received a game misconduct with his penalty.  A major penalty might have not been meritted since the hit was a near carbon copy of Tim Sestito's hit on Boris Valabik that had him out for the better part of an entire month, that went unaccessed.  Several Rangers raced in to confront Meidl led by Richards, Lebold was again sent rushing to the ice to attend to Kindl who appeared more shaken than injured and would find his way back on to the ice later in the period.  Valabik also took some time out to verbally address Tim Sestito in regards to the earlier hit in Kitchener, but nothing much developed.  It was the game that at times had the climate for chaos, but for the most part cooler heads prevailed.  The Rangers powerplay stalled, having all 5 minutes to work on the powerplay, but entering the game that poweplay (at least on the road) entered the game operating at 13.6%, an 0 for 7 night would fail to improve that mark.  After the big penalty while riding a high, the Whalers starting to pick up their own chances, Turple as he did in the game before turned them away in the opening period.

Cescon bowls Adam Keefe into netminder Ryan Nie as McFarland scores.
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The Rangers third line continued to have the hot hand in this game.  That and Mike Duco seems to have a knack for opening the scoring (for both teams), he has opened the scoring in each of the past 3 games, and has goals in each of the Rangers' past 4 games.  He found the back of the net early in the second period, on an Adam Keefe feed giving the Rangers the long awaited opening goal.  The Whalers didn't take too long to answer back, at the midway point of the period, while on the powerplay, Mike Letizia beat Turple with a high point drive, drawing the Whalers even.  Only minutes later the Whalers would find themselves on another powerplay poised to take the lead, what they got instead was a good look at the OHL's top shorthanded goal scorer at work, Michael Richards making little mistake on his 5th shorthanded marker of the season, Richards leads Geoff Platt who with his overtime goal last night had drawn to within one of the lead with 3 goals, all other OHL shooters have either two or less.  Keefe did much of the work shorthanded, giving Richards the feed for the last go-ahead goal the Rangers would need on this night.  Infact Keefe was on for each of the four Rangers' goals on the night, and would have probably been selected by Rangers' personalities for a game star.

In the third period early the Rangers picked up what happened to be a very important insurance marker from Paul McFarland who started the season slowly but now has quitely accumulated a rather respectable total of seven goals, his shot went through Ryan Nie who was screened by Adam Keefe infront.  The Whalers pressed late, Tim Sestito scored with only 1:22 left with the netminder out to narrow the gap at 3-2, but the Ranger stood tall the rest of the way and Michael Richards returned the favour to Adam Keefe helping him feed the empty net.  Keefe ended the night, with 4 penalties, 1 goal, one assist and a plus-3, he was on the ice for each of the Rangers 4 goals, and also the late Plymouth goal with Ryan Nie on the bench for an extra attacker in a more defensive role.  Michael Richards was the games' first star, and a pair of Whalers: Mitchell and Sestito picked up the game's second and third star honors.while playing infront of a crowd of 3,472.