After finishing an entire season with no shutouts the Rangers now have 3, all on the road, one by former Ranger: Carlo DiRienzo in Toronto, and a pair by Turple in Sault Ste. Marie and now Peterborough. On home ice, both Turple and in the previous year Tyson Kellerman took shutouts into the final minute of the game, those two matchups resulted in a tie and more recently an overtime loss just prior to the new year. Turple has had some luck against the Eastern Division leading Peterborough Petes this year. He's 3-0-0 against the Petes, in those three games he's allowed a total of 3 goals, on one other start he was pulled after allowing 4 goals in 26 minutes and received a no-decision just prior to being traded to the Rangers. The Petes' scorers seem to be cursed, and in the two games since scoring a season-high 6 goals against the powerhouse London Knights the Petes have now been shutout in two consecutive games, 69 combined shots on Kevin Coulture and Dan Turple have been fruitless for a Petes' offense that humbled the Knights.
A very strong crowd of 3359 turned out for
the matchup, and prior to the puck dropping, Petes' head coach Dick Todd
was honored for his 500th career win achieved just one week earlier against
the London Knights before a sellout crowd. On that particular night
Dick Todd became the fastest OHL coach (fewest games to accomplish the
500 win feat. By comparison Peter DeBoer has 379 career victories
and has more than an outside chance of accomplishing a similar feat in
less games. Both teams entered the games with handicaps up front,
especially on the wings. The Petes were missing fireplug winger:
Patrick Kaleta, the big hitter on their number two unit (Reddox and Ryder
have just not been the same without him), and the Rangers were without
the services of Patrick Davis and Jean-Michel Rizk for the second straight
game. After only one period they lost the services of Michael Richards
as well, he appeared to have aggrevated an older injury, he was also acknowleged
briefly for his contributions to the Canadian World Junior team..
Eero Kilpelainen was an easy pick for starter with Jeff MacDougald suspended along with Patrick Kaleta for their parts in a second period brawl that saw officials nearly lose control completely only one week earlier at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. Kilpelainen was very solid between the pipes for the Petes through two periods, repetatively coming far out of his crease to challenge and confuse Rangers' shooters. The Petes did benefit from any early whistle in the first period as the puck found it's way through Kilpelainen's pads without any assistance, but was whistled down just prior to emerging behind the 19-year-old Finnish netminder. Dan Turple had some misadventures of his own. Surprising sophomore: Jadran Beljo found himself all alone infront during the second period, and when Turple went down and commited, Beljo pulled down the puck and attempted to find his way around the big Rangers' netminder. Turple who flipped over and got around to cover the near post just in time had most of the crowd buzzing when he thwarted Beljo's big chance. In the first period top line wingers: Greg Stewart and David Clarkson dropped the gloves, both willing combatants had a good showing, but Clarkson got in a few good shots as the two were about to hit the ice.
At the 3:34 mark of the third period Myles Applebaum broke the scoreless tie as well as snapping his own personal scoreless streak with his first OHL career goal, Adam Keefe's shot was deflected partially by the Petes' netminder, and Applebaum skated in down low and slammed the puck into the back of the net. Minutes later, the Rangers would wrist a shot off of the inside of the crossbar. Duco would put the Petes away at the midpoint of the third with a wrist shot that found it's way over Kilpelainen's shoulder and into the back of the net. This goal would prove somewhat controversial as a Pete would be pulled down to create the turnover in the defensive zone. The Rangers really played some tight and smart defensive hockey in the final minutes of the game to preserve the shutout. Though it generated some chances the Rangers powerplay was 0 for 4, the Petes were 0 of 8 on the night including a short two-man advantage, the strong night of penalty killing boasted the Rangers' road penalty kill toi number one league wide operating at 87.8%. The Rangers are now 8-2-1 in their last 11 games with the only two losses to the London Knights. On the road the Rangers have lost only 1 of their last 7.