3 games, three division rivals, three victories and three different starting netminders for the Rangers to finish off the regular season schedule on a high note. First Dan Turple, Rangers' netminding kingpin shutout the Storm 4-0 in Guelph, Mark Packwood followed up that effort with a splendid 1 against effort on Friday night against the Otters. On Saturday night the decimated Rangers minus the services of McGrath, Valabik, and Keefe showed up in Owen Sound, some could argue that they tried to mail in the two points, but in reality it would appear as if the Attack wanted this game, and the reserves and rookies played well enough and got just enough bounces to oust the Attack sending them into the postseason on a three-game tailspin. Certainly not the way the Attack wanted to end their franchise record-breaking 90 point season. The obvious sub-plot had to be the three career milestones that Andre Benoit was chasing, he manged to reach the 200 asssist plateau but was left one point short of 300 points. Benoit's OHL leading 77 points from the blueline are still nothing to sneeze at.
Things didn't look nearly as promising early
in the game. Justin Piquette hauled Bobby Ryan down behind the Rangers'
net and early in the powerplay Ryan himself made the Rangers' pay, he had
a flukey tip on a Bob Sanguinetti point shot that opened the scoring only
2:04 into the game. It was the first and only lead that the hometown
Attack would have all game long, during the remainder of the game they
were forced to fight from behind. Kevin Henderson scored his fifth
goal of the season, and second in Owen Sound this season. His goal
and assist against the Attack gave him 4 points in only two games.
Craig Voakes gave the Rangers' their first lead of the game while on the
powerplay, he launched a rocket of a wrist shot into the top corner of
the net just over Brown's outstretched glove. Soon after the Rangers'
found themselves on another powerplay unfortunately this one resulted in
a two-on-none break for two of the Attack snipers, but Pfligler stood tall
and made the big stop. Late in the period the Attack were back on
the powerplay and again the same result, an early goal Stefan Ruzicka wristed
the puck past Pfligler on the shortside. The Rangers penalty kill
also suffered early in their previous visit to Owen Sound.
Patrick Davis became the second straight Ranger to hit the 20 goal plateau after Craig Voakes accomplished the feat in the first period. Patrick Davis took a Chris Bryson rebound and threw it over a prone: Mike Brown. Again the Rangers' couldn't hold the lead, Kyle Lamb threw a shot at the net from the blueline immediately after a faceoff win by the Attack. The floater hit Davis' glove and deflected past a surprised Eric Pfligler who on the overall turned in one of his better performances of his season in the Rangers' only win up in Owen Sound this season. The winner came late in the second period when Richards picked up a rebound on the powerplay and beat Brown. Both Richards and Benoit only saw time on the powerplay units. That goal was the 299th point of Andre Benoit's distinguished OHL career. In the third period Mark Fraser was high-sticked in the face, after some confering between officials Gongalsky was incorrectly assessed a double-minor penalty that should have been given to Brad Richardson. The Rangers were unable to score on those chances although they did finish 2 for 5 on the powerplay. The Attack pressed late to tie but Pfligler held the fort for the Rangers. Unfortunately the Attack appared to suffer some injuries during the game, hopefully those will be of the day-to-day variety.
Craig Voakes, and Patrick Davis became the 6th and 7th 20 goal scorers on the Rangers' team. The Rangers 83 point regular season gives them standing as the 3rd best team in the entire OHL (coincidentally also their standing within their division). Quietly the Rangers also established their second to best regular season dating all of the way back to the 1989-1990 season, an impressive feat, in 2002-2003 the Rangers had 100 points and also won the national championship. Andre Benoit who did achieve one of his milestones was named the games' 1st star for his efforts. Justin Piquette was forced into duty as a defender with the Rangers only dressing 4 defenders and electing to keep Andre Benoit off of the ice for most of the game. After the game the Attack players addressed the sellout crowd which included two busloads of Rangers fans. The Attack established a franchise record with 90 points, in 1986 the Guelph Platers won the championship, but failed to achieve as many points as this edition of the Attack.