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McGrath finds opportune time to snap out scoring funk
 


Action is fast and furious around the Sarnia net late in the third period.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


Another meeting with the Sting, another near disaster averted.  This time it wasn't overwhelming play in the Sarnia zone that they stung Sarnia with as they did embarassing the Sting on their own ice with a dominant effort in minutes following the first 6 that got the Sting off to an early 2-0 lead.  The powerplay was the answer to many of the Rangers' problems, providing them with all of their scoring in regulation time.  The only even strength goal by the Rangers occured in overtime, while playing 4-on-4 as the Rangers improved their overtime totals to 3-4-4 on the season.  Clearly another scoreless effort while playing 5-on-5 (the second in two nights) left a few things to be desired from the team that has benefited from the trade deadline veteran gains, but has also suffered with a lack of continuity of late.  Still, entering this contest the Rangers were planning on getting back on track having just had their modest 5-game unbeaten streak snapped by the London Knights, at the end of the night the jury was still out as to whether the Rangers were back on track, the Rangers have struggled with the 9th place Sting all season long.

Only 6 minutes into the first period Matt Pelech got lucky scoring his first goal of the season, he spun shot and beat Turple who like the other 11 players on the ice (including the shooter) had no indication as to where the puck was going until it was too late.  With the Rangers struggling to hit their stride they would suffer yet another set back, just after the 14 minute mark and already killing their 2nd penalty of the game, many thought that Dan Turple had covered the puck, instead Trevor Solomon was able to slash it out from under his glove.  The goal and the resulting liberties taken by Boris Valabik in the corner resulted in yet another Sting powerplay, and a very restless crowd that started to become very angry.  On the tail end of the Valabik penalty Mark Fraser would also take a minor resulting in an abbreviated two-man advantage.  During the second period, it was the Sting's turn to get into penalty trouble.  The sputtering and stalling Rangers' powerplay finally got going with Justin Azevedo at the helm and the Czech-Slovak duo of Kindl and Valabik running the points.  Azevedo found Kindl at the point, and Kindl's low rocket beat Munce stick side, just prior to the penalty expiring.


Evan McGrath snaps the puck over the outstretched arm of Ryan Munce in overtime.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com

The Rangers entered the third period on a powerplay, rested and ready to go they quickly got possession in the Sting zone, they got a little help when Matt Pelech took a high sticking minor and put the Sting down two men only 20 seconds into the period.  As the first minor was nearing it's end Michael Richards found Patrick Davis all alone in the high slot, his one-timer went in, uncontested as Munce wasn't anywhere close to the open side where the puck entered, the goal was scored with only a second to spare on the first minor.  Mike Duco blasted home the go-ahead goal only 27 later, giving the Rangers their first lead of the game.  The Rangers appeared to have a chance to put the game away when the Sting took a too many men minor having 6 players on the ice for an extended period of time.  Instead of capitalizing on the opportunity, the Rangers turned around and gave it right back taking a too-many men infraction of their own during a change while play was in progress along the boards.  The Rangers found themselves in the worst trouble at the midway point of the period.  Boris Valabik took a roughing minor and Dan Turple compounded problems with a delay of game penalty, inadvertantly clearing the puck over the glass only 29 seconds later.  The Rangers managed to kill the penalty and Dan Turple managed to bail himself out of trouble.  All seemed fine until the 14 minute mark when Kody Musselman roofed a shot from a bad angle of Turple 's shoulder sending the water bottle flying and eventually the game into overtime.

In the extra period the Rangers came out looking determined, it was a nicely feathered pass by Mike Duco right on to Evan McGrath's stick that lead to the dramatic goal where McGrath held on just long enough to get a better angle before snapping the puck past the veteran netminder.  Mike Duco paced the Rangers with 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists).  David Clarkson and Jordan Grant had a very entertaining scrap late in the first period, Clarkson dominated Grant in the early going, but Grant finished with a flurry of heavy punches.  The Rangers finished the night 3 for 8 on the powerplay, in the new year the Rangers are 5 for 11 on the powerplay helping elevate their home powerplay to tops in the league operating at 30%, while they continue to struggle on the road with a 14.1% mark.  Evan McGrath's goal broke a near 18 game scoreless streak.  Both of the newest additions to the Rangers lineup Jean-Michel Rizk and Ryan Donally and still awaiting their first points as Kitchener Rangers.