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Devastating losses take their toll on the Rangers
 


David Clarkson has the puck on edge behind Thuot, but not over the goal line, unfortunately that was the story most of the night for the Rangers.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com



In the final minute of overtime, momentum seemed and puck control seemed to change as often as a youngster shifting gears in an open-road race.  Clarkson lead the Rangers into the Colts zone, was stripped of the puck, the Colts then countered, and again a turnover found the puck at the Rangers' blueline and nothing but a clean (but battered) sheet of ice infront.  Clarkson again burst in over centre ice, this time with even more room to spare.  This time he was repetatively hooked before finally being hauled to the ice.  It appeared as if official Ryan O'Neill wasn't shifting gears at all, he took the role of the inconsequential passenger.  With the scene set for a penalty shot, O'Neill elected not to make any call at all.  The non-call by O'Neill had it's opposition, nearly all of the remnants of the crowd of over 6,000 (many having left having that inrepressible feeling that something bad was going to happen to the Rangers who haven't exactly been blessed by lady luck of late) voiced their displeasure with deafening boos.  Steve Spott for a short while refused to send players on to the ice demanding an explaination.  Then seconds later the unthinkable happened, the Rangers won the offensive zone faceoff with only 16 seconds left on the clock following the considerable delay, and through miscommunication and just plain bad luck Hisey stripped the puck from Turple who left the net and while Turple was able to return to the net, Hisey was able to find Bryan Little infront of the net, and Little used the time he had at his disposal to put the puck under Turple with only 7/10ths of a second left.

Very similar to their first encounter with the Barrie Colts, the Rangers' ran into Francois Thuot started in goal for the Colts, odd since Thuot is generally thought of as Barrie's backup netminder.  His previous start against the Rangers, a 5-4 overtime loss wasn't overly impressive.  As Don Cameron stated pre-game, that games' overtime hero Michael Richards wasn't going to be present, so the Rangers might need someone else to step up and score the big goal, at night's end no one really had.  Thuot, this game's 2nd star had a severely improved game, the Rangers' top star Dan Turple also trumped Eric Pfligler's less than spectacular effort up in Barrie.  Continuing some of the trends started in Barrie, Michael Richards, though in Grand Forks went down injured, and in Barrie earlier in the season Michael Richards pulled out of a fight early after smashing his fist into Jordan Shine's helmet raising fear that he may have broken his hand during the fight.


McGrath and Clarkson in disbelief after the non-penalty call in overtime, Spott stands at the edge of the Rangers' bench demanding
an explaination, unfortunately none was forthcoming even at the game's conclusion.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com

For the longest time this season the Rangers and their opposition both went scoreless, the Rangers have only held their opponents scoreless once in Toronto, while their opposition haven't had any luck in keeping the Rangers' off of the board, though the Colts would come within a goal, and also establish a season-low for goals on home ice by the Rangers, who's offense has seldomly taken a night off on home ice.  Finally Mike Duco scored at the 12:05 mark of the second period.  Mark Fraser was rushed at the point and fired a wrister in that went through some traffic before getting deflected out infront by Thuot, Mike Duco simply gobbled up the rebound at the side of the net, and bury the puck.  Both teams were not without their chances to that point, both netminder had adventures where they simply lost sight of the puck or benefitted from shooters who couldn't find the mark.

In the third period with Chad Robinson in the box for an undisciplined slashing minor on netminder: Dan Turple, the Rangers had their chances to put the game away, their glorious opportunities all drifted wide and those that weren't were stopped by Francois Thuot who was extremely strong between the pipes for the Colts.  Minutes after the powerplay had expired, David Clarkson picked up a hooking minor.  It clearly wasn't Clarkson's night having been called for a 10-minute infraction earlier in the period when he was infront of the Colts bench yaking at many of the Colts.  Clarkson's reaction to the hooking minor and 10 minute misconduct may have negatively influenced the official's judgement during the overtime session.  Clarkson's late game hooking infraction proved especially costly as B.J. Crombeen scored late in regulation on the powerplay.

Dan Turple playing in his first game since departing early in Owen Sound was the game's first star, for his stellar play throughout.  The overtime loss for the Rangers was their 3 in only 4 games, and 4th in the season overall.  The Rangers tied their all-time high for overtime losses in a season, established in 1999-2000, obviously not a good sign only 32 games into the season.  The Rangers received Jakub Kindl back from the Czech camp, but they were still without the services of: Michael Richards (team Canada), Boris Valabik (team Slovakia), Craig Voakes (team suspension), Myles Applebaum (under-17), and Justin Azevedo (under-17).  Chris Bryson made his first regular season start in a Rangers' uniform and came very close to scoring his first OHL goal, Julian Machabee also was called up for the game.  Dan Turple received more abuse than he had in any other previous game as a Ranger, this abuse stopped when Matt Lashoff took exception to Chad Robinson's slash late in the third period.  Turple also had a new look, finally sporting a painted mask.