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Depleted Rangers' lineup finds last second magic
 


Andre Benoit's point shot drops behind Danny Taylor with only 8.6 seconds left in the game.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


There's a song with a verse: "who can buy your hair if it won't grow," something similar might apply for the Rangers were were the beneficiaries of a late game powerplay but their biggest hurdle in tying the game at one a piece may have been an issue of manpower.  The Rangers started the game already short: Michael Richards, Patrick Davis, Jean-Michel Rizk, and Matt Pepe already out due to injuries, the odds approached insurmountable in the third period when Justin Azevedo was lost to what is a suspected to be a concussion after being drilled from behind into the boards by Corey Konecny who is hardly popular in Kitchener already.  Just prior to the infraction, Kevin Henderson was lost for two, five and ten for his part in starting a fight with the Storm.  Adam Keefe who has already fought with Konecny twice this season in the only other two meetings for the pair of brawling forwards this season, after the devastating hit on Azevedo Keefe look little time in responding coming to the aid of his injured teammate but unfortunately leaving the Rangers with only 7 forwards.  The low manpower situation forced the likes of Applebaum and Combs into service on the powerplay, and utimately they failed to score through 5 minutes of consecutive powerplay time.

Despite playing the Storm 4 times already this season the Rangers still had yet to see Danny Taylor, in each of those games Adam Dennis got the start, and with Dennis off to the Knights, change was in order if it wouldn't have come about naturally with time.  The Rangers were undefeated 2-0-2 in those four meetings so perhaps a change in plans would suit the Storm best.  In the first period the Rangers would try slow the game down as they did only one night earlier in Peterborough.  With the lack of overall depth up front the Rangers would be at a severe disadvantage if the game were to really open up offensively.  The Rangers did come close in the first, they outskated the Storm at times to gain the edge in the offensive zone and even rattled the post.  At the other end of the ice, a scramble in and around the Rangers net had Dan down, out and desperately trying to figure out which side of the ice to even find the puck on.  Fortunately the puck found Turple who looked clueless when it slammed off of his mask and thankfully for the Rangers out of harms' way.
 



Adam Keefe heads in after Corey Konecny coming to the aid of Justin Azevedo who was injured
on the play, it was their third fight of the season.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com

Just when it appeared as if the two teams might be destined for a zero-zero tie, Ryan Card snapped the scoreless tie in the final minute of the second period.  The whole play appeared harmless when the puck went to the point, Adam Keefe tried to check aggressively missed the overage defender and unfortunately got all spun around leaving Card unharassed.  Card had time to make an accurate shot and with a solid screen in front the puck coasted right through Dan Turple's legs and into the back of the net.  Turple's reaction seemed to indicate that he had never seen the original shot.  Both the Storm with their defensive play and the Rangers with their personel hardships in boring the announced crowd of over 6,000 nearly into submission.  Those who did stay through the slow-paced matchup right through to what appaared to be a bitter end were rewarded, with Dan Turple out in favour of an extra attacker, the Rangers stayed behind the board fighting, battling and struggling for the puck for what seemed like an eternity.  Shortly after the puck escaping the area behind the icing line, Andre Benoit found the puck, he sent a hard and high wrister at the goal, that found it's way into the top corner with only 8.6 seconds on the clock, sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy.

In overtime the Rangers dominated, having several quality scoring chances.  A high sticking minor to Doig with just over one minute left would really put the Rangers on the Attack, through five minutes the Rangers would pound 8 shots at Danny Taylor.  They would hold a 36-22 edge in shots overall, most of the advantage occuring in the third period and overtime.  Unfortunately the Rangers would have to settle for half of the pie, their third tie in only 5 head-to-head matchups, the Rangers can clinch the season series with a win in any of the three final meetings between the two rivals that are remaining.  The Rangers and Storm finished the game 0 for 10, and 0 for 9 on the powerplay respectively.  Early indications are that Justin Azevedo may have a concussion as a result of the hit by Konecny who will automatically be suspended for two games, pending a league review he could have to serve more.  A shutout, which was narrowly avoided would have been the Rangers' first on home ice in over two full season during the regular season.