Special game report courtesy of the man with
the yellow hat:
Somehow the best Ranger on the ice is the one absorbing the most pain. Dan Turple who has dealt with hurt off-ice, punished on it, and is really taking it on the nose with his personal stats. The Rangers have lost each of Turple's last 6 starts (though technically Pfligler took the overtime loss in Owen Sound in relief). Turple, for the second straight night made the three stars' list, and might have made it three straight should he have continued for a full 60 minutes in Owen Sound. Kitchener arrived Sudbury on a 4 game losing streak which included 3 OT losses. Sudbury had lost their previous game after having ended Londons record unbeaten streak, a fact that was recorded on a T-shirt available at the game. It depicted a wolf taking a bite out a Knight.
Turple again had the start for the Rangers with Ehelechner getting the start for the Wolves, several weeks earlier the Rangers ran into Kevin Beech. Craig Voakes was back in the Rangers line up and playing center, he took the place of Julian Machabee. Voakes and Keefe started against their former team. When the Wolves took the ice the skated out from under a giant blow up wolves head. A number of teams have similar blow up mascots, but the wolf head might just be the biggest of them all. The referee for the evening was Carman Cox.
Sudbury came out fast and put early pressure on the Rangers helped in part by some terrible Ranger line changes, however the Rangers came back further into the period when they went on the power play unfortuantely they could not find a way past Ehelechner. Once the penalty ended the Wolves came back into it, but the Rangers did manage to get some pressure on the Wolves blueline, a good rush from Voakes who went round a defenseman and and forced a good save from Ehelechner. The Rangers were back in penalty trouble again when Duco took a lazy hooking penalty, however the Rangers managed to kill it off just before the Wolves managed to get the puck past Turple. A hard shot from the point was directed in by the skate of a Wolves forward. The Sudbury celebration was cut short os Cox ruled the puck a being kicked it. It appeared to be a harsh call since the puck was more directed than kicked. At the end of the period it was still 0-0, the wolves had the edge in shots 17-11. Overall the shots reflected the play in a good physical period. Turple played well and kept the Rangers in the game early.
Duringt the intermission it was apparent that a few die hard Ranger fans had made the trip, maybe 10 in total, many of them specifically to see Justin Piquette who hails from northern Ontario (specifically Timmins). When the second period started Clarkson lined up against Stortini and dropped the gloves and went after him. Stortini playing a passive role in this instance just let him throw a couple of punches without ever looking to take his gloves off. Clarkson got 2+10 for instigating and 5 for fighting, an extremely costly and selfish penalty. He dropped his gloves and just started throwing punches at Stortini who was not interested in fighting. Surely as one of only three overagers he is a key part of the team, meant to set a better example through leadership and discipline. On the power play the wolves managed to get the puck down low behind the goal and it came out from behind to Blaho who chiped it over Turple who was taking away the bottom part of the net. All this came at 1:57 of the period. This still left over 5 minutes of penalty time to kill which the sucessfully allowing only 3 shots over the 7 minutes. Later in the period the Wolves broke in 3 on 3. The Rangers seemed to have the contained, but a drop pass to was made to Didomete who let a weak shot go from the left face off dot. The shot was going wide however it struck a Ranger in the back and bounced in. At 17:25 with both teams a man short the Rangers broke in 3 on 2, Davis droped the puck for Duco who let a low shot got the flew past Ehelechner to pull the Rangers back to within a single goal. As the period entered its final minute a scrum formed around the Ranger net and Benoit pushed a player away with the blade of his stick with a spearing motion. Although it was only a gentle push it was a spear and Cox gave Benoit 4 minutes for spearing, if he had pushed him away with his hands there would have not been penalty. The period finshed with the Rangers still a man short and down 2 to 1. They had been outshot 11 to 4 in the period and only have Turple to thank that they were this close.
Sudbury started the 3rd on the powerplay a converted at 52 seconds when a weak shot from the point found its way pasted a screened Turple. However the Rangers kept on trying to keep the wolves out and Voakes managed to steal the puck from the last defended and raced away, Ehelechner managed to get a piece of the puck but it just dribbled into the net for a short handed goal at 2:07 and the Rangers were back to within one again. For Voakes, the goal ended a 13 game scoreless drought. However at 13:14 Voakes went from hero to zero when he had the puck at his feet in the corner of his own end and didn't see it. A Sudbury player picked it up a went to the net and passed it over to Chaumont who was all alone and he put it past Turple. Both players were so free because all the other Rangers had headed up ice assuming the Voakes would bring the puck out, an old failing that they must at some point rectify. The Rangers tried to get back in the game and pulled Turple, but coughed the puck up at the Sudbury blue line and McQuaid scored into the empty net to end the scoring, for McQuaid a stay-at-home defender it was his first goal of the season. The shots in the period were 11 to 5 in favour of Sudbury for game totals of 39 to 20.
At games' end acting head coach: Steve Spott promised changes as the Rangers were preparing to take off towards Sault Ste. Marie for their third game in three nights. Unfortunately acting leadership in the absence of Michael Richards didn't perform as advertised, Benoit and Clarkson both overagers combined for a total of 21 minutes of unnecessary penalties. Chris Bryson once again dressed for the Rangers, and even saw some time on the powerplay. Unfortunately the Wolves powerplay proved to be the difference before the empty net goal, both of those goals were scored during extended powerplays created with selfish penalties.