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Richards is the overtime hero for the Rangers
 


Otters' checking line onslaught continues in the second as Chris Greene deflects a shot past Turple. 
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


The Rangers seemed to be in dire straits when the Otters scored a pair of goal at the games midway point only 18 seconds apart to take a commanding 3-1 lead, the Rangers charged back into the game only to be hit with yet another setback as Dan Turple went down, late in regulation.  They were able to rebound led by captain: Michael Richards and now after three consecutive goals to finish the game face an uphill battle in taking 3 of the next 4 from the Otters who still hold a 2-1 series lead.  Obviously those three consecutive goals capture the attention of the Otters, but the question now changes to what exactly does that entail?  Almost as if it was a game plan the Otters' have been severely outchanced by the Rangers in each of the first three games, and keeping a netminder like Disher busy is the equivalent of keeping him sharp, time will tell, one thing that is for sure is that the Otters still have yet to score on Pfligler whom they've scarcely seen play in goal for the Rangers this entire season.

The Rangers burst out of the gates on fire hitting Disher with shots from every side, corner and depth, but failing to beat the Otters' star netminder.  They also came out hitting, the miniature but heart-filled line of Adam Keefe, Justin Azevedo and Mike Duco weren't the least bit shy about throwing their weight around crashing into and through everything moving.  The crowd was starting to really stir and then at the midway mark of the opening period Ryan O'Marra scored for the Otters giving them a 1-0 lead.  After struggling through the whole series Michael Richards brust through the middle shorthanded and while being hauled down managed to flip the puck up past Josh Disher in spectacular fashion bringing the sellout crowd of over 5,800 instantenously to its feet.  The regular season shorthanded scoring king had struck again!
 
 


Geoff Platt gets up close and personal with Dan Turple.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com

In the second period the Rangers again came on strong drawing momentum from Michael Richards' shorthanded marker late in the first period.  But it was the Otters' who once again got the jump on the Rangers, they weren't able to capitalize on a double-minor to Kevin Henderson for high-sticking, but they did score soon after when it was 5-on-5 again.  Chris Greene went to the net as instructed, and turned as the puck glanced off of his stick and into the top of the net surprising Turple.  Brad Beer immediately signalled to wave off the goal and then appeared to change his mind very soon after.  The flukey goal was nearly the undoing of the Rangers, immediately Greene returned the favour finding David Herring at the side of the crease he batted the puck in the empty side of the net uncontested.  The second Otters' goal of the period was only 18 seconds later, and with the Rangers looking to be in disarray, DeBoer called a timeout to rally the troops.  Evan McGrath was able to pound the puck through Josh Disher while the Rangers were on the powerplay minutes later, he was one of several Rangers working over the puck.  Late in the period Brian Lee made the mistake of closing his hand on the puck while the Otters were already shorthanded, but the Rangers found themselves unable to capitalize on the later period powerplay.

The Rangers entered the third period on the tail end of a powerplay, Andre Benoit wasted little time in tying the game at 3 goals a piece his point shot continued through a zoo of player legs and into the back of the Otters' net.  The Rangers had a scare late in the third period.  Dan Turple sent himself flying across the crease, the Otters appeared to score on the play and Turple appeared to pick up an upper body injury that saw him leave the Rangers net and bench for the duration of regulation and overtime.  The Rangers again pressed to avoid overtime.  This time things were quick and painless, but well worth waiting through the intermission for.  Michael Richards sent a hard wrist shot from the high slot over Disher's outstretched arm sending the crowd into a frenzy.  Each of the game's 6 scorers finished the game with 2 goals during postseason play.  Michael Richards was the catalyst for the Rangers, he had a point on each of the four Rangers' goals.  The Otters did not see Rangers' netminder Eric Pfligler all season long, they have seen him for bits and parts of two playoff games and have yet to score on him.  No April fools on Friday night, a home date is now guaranteed with the win.