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Battochio crushes Rangers' hopes of finishing 3rd
 


Battochio stretches across the crease in an attempt to stop a shot that was going wide in the second period. 
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


Reporting live from RangersRush's temporary base in Ottawa where the Rangers fell 3-1 infront of a national television audience to the Ottawa 67's in a highly entertaining but frustrating matchup for the Rangers.  The Rangers inability to put quality shots on goal that will result in good rebounds and capitalize on such has really hurt the team over the last two nights and as a result the Rangers have scored 3 goals in their last two games combined and in that timeframe have lost a pair of games to the Bulls on Saturday and the 67's on Sunday night.  Tables seem to have turned in the first period.  The Rangers' saw themselves get into penalty trouble early in the game, their second consecutive minor coming as a result of Jean-Michel Rizk's contact with netminder Battochio.  At the other end of the ice Jakub Kindl was suckered into a peanlty by the always pesky and annoying: Brad Bonello who fell purposely taking out the legs of the Rangers' netminder.  On the second infraction despite the Rangers' netminder being bowled over it was ruled the fault of the Rangers' player, sending the 67's to yet another powerplay, the 67's took the play to the Rangers' at the beginning of the period, partially aided by a pair of penalties in the early going.  As the period progressed the pendulum began to swing in favour of the Rangers, as they repetatively attacked the 67's zone.

Chris Bryson opened up the scoring zipping the puck past Battochio early in the first period giving the Rangers' an early lead.  For Bryson, it was his first ever regular season goal in the OHL, coming only a few outings after his final exhibition game where he scored as well.  Bryson's Winterhawks have been elminated from the Midwestern Jr. B postseason making Bryson available to the Rangers through the remainder of the season and playoffs.  His first career goal came while playing on a line with Kevin Henderson and Michael Richards, certainly the odd couple for him to be united with.  On the 67's side of the puck late in the period Jakub Petruzalek and Jamie VanderVeeken entered the Rangers' zone on a two-on-one.  VanderVeeken shot and Petruzalek collected the rebound getting the sweeping wrister past Turple.  Both goalies were forced to make some circus stops, Turple went coast to coast on several occasions but Battochio really stole the show making a highlight reel stop on Evan McGrath when it appeared, that Battochio was out of position and ready to be scored upon.

Special Feature: Watch a unique Ottawa goal celebration (actually it occured more like every single whistle) Click Here
 
 


Micheal Richards chases the puck behind the Ottawa net.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com




The Rangers after having collected many penalties earlier in the game got a pair of gift penalties.  First Danny Battochio took a hack at Michael Richards' ankles from behind and soonafter Brad Bonello was suckered into a minor for unsportsmanlike penalties when an unusually calm: Boris Valabik turned the tables on the aggitator.  The Rangers' were creative and got the puck to the net, they just failed ultimately to get the puck into the 67's goal despite a full two minute, two-man advantage.  The 67's were then given their own two-man advantage soon after.  Disaster nearly struck as Michael Richards snuck through much of the Ottawa denders only to ring the puck off of the bottom of the post when he made his move while shooting.  The non-goal would come back to haunt the Rangers one minute later, while still up one man the 67's feed the puck back to Brad Staubitz formerly of the Soo Greyhounds,   His point shot sailed through a number of 67's before finding its way to the back of the net.  There were a couple of scraps in this matchup though nothing overly notworthy.  In the third period Jean-Michel Rizk stepped in for one of his more skilled teammates and fought in order to keep that Rangers' forward out of the box in the game's final period.

The Rangers pulled their netminder just before the final minute of the game, they pressed and had some radical pressure but could not beat Danny Battochio.  Eventually when the puck was cleared out of the zone, Andre Benoit tried an ill-advised cross-ice pass, Julian Talbot intercepted and then found: Brad Bonello storming in on the vacated net to clinch the game.  The loss by the Rangers gives them two consecutive losing weekends.  It also snaps the Rangers' modest 3 game winning straek in the nations capital.  The Rangers outshot the 67's 38-36 and with some of the chances generated probably deserved a much better fate at the end of this game.  The Owen Sound Attack won in Toronto by a score of 5-1, giving them an 11-point cushion over the Rangers and all but clinching the 3rd playoff seeding.