There was definately a sobering mood after the game, Kitchener fans left quietly with a realization that the London Knights had gained a stranglehold on the series, and the chances of a return to the Aud were starting to look more slender. After losing in their road black jerseys the Knights elected to wear the colour du jour in London, their green thirds. High atop sections 17 and 19 near the London Knights bench united London Knights fans cheered every opportunity and goal by the team that represents the Forest City. Those fans were amongst some of the most energetic to arrive on the scene in Kitchener in years. The momentum had definately swung in the favour of the Knights with a dominate 6-1 effort in game 3, and the Rangers' faith seemed more apprehensive than ever. A return to the mighty home of the Rangers would definately shift the momentum squarely back into the corner of the Rangers. The Rangers have proven prognosticators wrong time and time again, this series, this deficit could be no different.
The Rangers started the game by reversing some
of the trends of the one that was played only two nights earlier.
Only 3:44 into the first period Craig Voakes snuck in from the point on
the powerplay, he actually was making an effort to sneak in for a one-timer,
the pass was thwarted by a Knights' defender but eventually deflected to
an area where the Knights' could not reach it and Craig Voakes was able
to use some swift stickhandling to beat Dennis over to the open side of
the net. Less than 4 minutes later Adam Keefe struck while the second
shift of the Rangers' powerplay was on the ice, he tipped a shot through
Adam Dennis giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead. The Knights rebounded
less than 30 seconds later. Adam Perry (Corey's younger brother)
scored his first playoff goal a deceptive wrister that beat Pfligler.
Minutes later while on the powerplay Rob Schremp tied the score at two
with a shot through the five-hole.
Things began to settle in the second period, and the end to end rushes that the two teams started with in the first period started to slow down. Witht the deficiencies on the Knights' blueline this may have served the Knights better than it would the Rangers who saw one of their own go down during game #3 in London. The Knights took their first lead of the game after Dan Girardi's point shot was tipped straight down and through the five-hole by Danny Fritsche. The Rangers didn't waste too much time in tying the game early in the third period, Andre Benoit sent a seeing-eye wrist shot floating through that Dennis clearly didn't see, it dropped into the back of the net sending the crowd of 6,501 into a frenzy the 6,501 set new records for post-rennovation attendance as well as 50/50 draw winnings which topped $5000 for the second straight home date. Disaster struck later on in the third when Kelly Thomson and Jordan Foreman combined on a rather pretty looking 2-on-2 rush. Kelly Thompson started by making Matt Pepe miss terribly on an open ice check opportunity and then moving the puck around Mark Fraser through to Jordan Foreman who waited and waited before flipping the puck up just under the crossbar.
The Rangers found their backs against the wall
in the dying minutes of the game. The Rangers pulled their netminder
late in regulation. After a timeout and some lengthy delays in getting
their plays together they had a couple of consecutive faceoff wins.
The second straight resulted in a jam play by Richards at one side of the
net, and the puck re-emerging at the other size where it first hopped over
the stick of Craig Voakes before a second opportunity presented itself
and Voakes roofed the puck with only 6 ticks left on the clock. The
goal put the Rangers' up to +4 with their netminder out of the goal area
and left the opposition at roughly 10 complete minutes of play around the
vacated Rangers net wtihout a goal to show for it. The Rangers have
come back to win a series after trailing 3 games to one in 1996 against
the Barrie Colts. Prior to the game the OHL head office handed suspensions
down to Ryan Donally for five games for 'pushing' Danny Syvret who was
able to return to return to the lineup. Brandon Prust was suspended
3 games for a monster-sized hit on Matt Lashoff who was unable to play
due to injuries in the head area. Game 5 goes Friday night in London.