By far the most enjoyable and biggest team bonding road trip of the season is the one that treks through Eastern Ontario. Kingston-Belleville-Ottawa three games, and in this season they will occur on three nights with the final game being televised nationally out of Ottawa. Aside from a season-changing road trip the team is looking forward to the healthy return of Mike Duco, Michael Richards and Matt Lashoff, key cogs to the machine that is the Kitchener Rangers. Still, there is work at hand this week for the Rangers and thus far they've been easy prey for a pair of prominant Western Conference teams each who have enjoyed 3-0 leads and thrashed the Rangers by a combined score of 9-1. Certainly an injury shortly after the puck was dropped was not part of the doctor's orders. That is unless they are being paid by the visit. Ryan Donally was run into the boards from behind early in the first he left the ice immediately and disappeared into the Rangers' locker room. Donally would not return and the Rangers would only report an upper body injury and that he's expected to be out of the lineup for one to two weeks. Donally's loss would be felt on the penalty kill, where he logs a lot of ice and in his absence the Rangers allowed 2 powerplay goals on only 7 opportunities something uncommon of late with the Rangers' penalty kill operating at nearly 90% since the new year.
After several big stops by resident big man
Dan Turple the Greyhounds finally got on board with Jakub Kindl in the
box for hooking. Brody Todd - a recent acquisition from the
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, managed to connect on the man advantage taking
a Kyle Wharton rebound and sliding it past Turple to open the scoring late
in the first period. It was the first goal that the Greyhounds had
scored on Turple in over one year and 80 minutes of hockey dating back
to Dan Turple's days with the Kingston Frontenacs! Unfortunately
the first period was the closest for the Rangers on the shot clock, they
left the period trailing 10-6, things only got worse from there.
In the second period the Greyhounds were finally able to acquire an insurance marker, they did need a little boost to do so. Mark Fraser took a holding penalty with Jakub Kindl already in the box for holding creating a brief two-man advantage for the Greyhounds. They weren't able to score before the first penalty expired but capitalized when Chris Lawrence faked a pass cross-crease where Jeff Carter was waiting and then elected to beat Turple five-hole. As was the case the night before frustrations set in and that resulted in some of the rough stuff. First frequent combatants: Adam Keefe and Jordan Smith threw down the gloves, and soon after Clarkson and Todd did the same. Clarkson was actually jousting with Martin Tuma when Brody Todd joined in on the fun, despite this, David Clarkson was assessed the lengthy instigator in the fight and at one point in the second period the Rangers' bench was shortened to 8 skaters. No sooner was Jordan Smith out of the box, he was back for a second visit. Smith charged through Andre Benoit who was filling in up front as he is often capable of doing being a former forward. Valabik took exception and the two heavy weights went at it, through unlike some of the more spirited fights earlier in the game this one was more clutch and grab. Blair Jarrett seemed to finish off the Rangers when he scored late in the period giving the Greyhounds a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Rangers received a boost early in the third when Evan McGrath scored breaking the team's scoreless streak after nearly 6 consecutive periods of shutout hockey. The Rangers were on a powerplay and McGrath converted a Justin Azevedo feed. Patrick Davis threatened to make the game really close minutes later. The Greyhounds forechecked well, held on and Tyler Kennedy iced the puck into the empty Rangers' net with 59 seconds left. For the second straight visit Dan Turple was the game's number 3 star. He kept the Rangers close all night and prevented Jeff Carter from scoring on a clean breakaway. The Rangers split the season series with the Greyhounds 2-2 with both teams winning one on the road and one on home ice. The Rangers have allowed 3 shorthanded goals in 15 opportunities over the last two games, while the numbers aren't bad looking, prior to that the Rangers allowed 3 shorthanded goals in their last 7 games combined (3 for 48). Due to the loss of Donally and lengthy penalty to David Clarkson the Rangers found themselves down to 6 forwards at one point in the game, Andre Benoit was again moved up to the forward position to compensate.