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Rangers' magical run comes to an end in London
 


Dennis watches a shot go wide in the second period. 
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


It's almost as if it wasn't fair, the Knights cheated.  At the trade deadline they went out and acquired a championship calibre netminder.  Perhaps championship calibre doesn't accurately describe what they got, Adam Dennis did win a championship just last season, and it was at London's expense.  This year the Knights weren't prepared to let that fate defeat them again.  Dennis was acquired from the Storm at mid-season and while the Rangers were able to trade quality chances keeping up with one of the most devastating offenses in the league; they weren't able to beat veteran netminder Adam Dennis who was for the second straight start in London - sensational!  The Rangers had a breakaway, a penalty shot and over a 15 minute stretch in the first period pounded 17 quality shots on goal and couldn't beat the Knights' netminder who conviniently bounced back from a fairly lackluster 4 goals against performance in Kitchener to pick up the first shutout of the series.  For the second straight game the Knights wore their green third jersey and pretty much to a person matched the attire of the fans in attendance, as the 'House of Green' was at it's greenest on this night, a now predictable total of 9090 were in attendance at the John Labatt Centre.  Robbie got the fans on the backs' of the Rangers early when he tucked the puck under Pfligler only 4 minutes into the game.  It was the earliest opening goal of any game in the series, but did not point in a direction of better things to come for the Knights at least not immediately.  The Rangers started to take the play and the body to the Knights.  Fans started to get all over the Rangers early, they proved relentless as the game proceeded.  The Rangers were the ones to come up with the scoring chances during the middle part of the first period.

The Rangers pressed with Jordan Foreman in the box after a diving penalty after coming into contact with big Rangers' defender: Boris Valabik.  London fans also stole a page out of the book of Rangers' fans not once but twice chanting "we want a ref" in protest of the calls, one could argue that they'll chants did influence the official as the Knights did finish the game with seven powerplays to the Rangers one.  Still it appeared to be one of the better officiated games, in what was a series marred with needless penalties.  While the Rangers' were in the box, the penalty kill went to work.  First Michael Richards went into the zone on a partial break, he couldn't score from behind the next he fired the puck out to Justin Azevedo who nearly scored, frustrations were compiled by the Knights when they covered the puck in the crease area with a glove, and not that of the netminder.  Justin Azevedo was eventually sent to center ice for a penalty shot.  He made a good move, but Dennis stayed with him the entire way and kicked out his leg to stop Azevedo's backhander.  Momentum would eventually shift back into the favour of the Knights after the toll of 3 Rangers' infractions inside of 6 minutes began to really take effect on the Rangers' team though they still stood tall and did not allow any more Knights goals.
 



Rangers lineup to congradulate the Knights, before exiting stage - left.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


In the second period the Rangers again pressed but it was the Knights who had the early answers Drew Larman nearly scored prompting the red ligth to come on early and then Dylan Hunter deposited the puck into the near empty Rangers' net.  At the other end of the ice, Michael Richards was pulling all of the right moves in order to score shorthanded, but Rob Schremp was able to come back and check Richards' stick after he had skated around no less than three other Knights' players and into a scoring position.  One of the more peculiar calls of the game was Brad Beer's delayed diving penalty to Corey Perry.  Perry was called for diving and while the Rangers had the puck the decision was eventually made to blow down the play since Perry was indeed cut.  Davis went off for 4 minutes for the highstick and Corey Perry was given 2 for unsportsmanlike, he didn't serve his two minutes as he elected to go to the dressing room for some quick repairs.  The real back-breaker for the Rangers was when Danny Syvret scored late in ther period to give the Knights a commanding 3-0 lead.  It seemed to take everything out of a Rangers team that had given their all and quite frankly may have made this one of the closest 3-0 games in a long time play-wise, they just couldn't get anything past Dennis.  Rob Schremp crushed any hopes of a comeback early in the third period when he scored early accepting a cross-crease pass from Danny Fritsche before roofing the puck over Eric Pfligler.

The Knights closed out the game with a pair of goals by lesser known players, Jordan Forman scored his second in two games, and Kole Bryce scored his first OHL goal ever to complete the 6-0 score.  Rangers played tapped their sticks after the 5-0 goal in applause of the efforts of official Brad Beer who in two games in London gave the Knights 22 powerplays to work with.  The Knights fans also started getting all over the Rangers, "Kitchener Hackers" signs were posted on the glass at the corners and fans stood for the final minute as the Knights were able to get some redemption at long last after failing in their last attempt at the Western Conference Title at the hands of the Guelph Storm.  Adam Dennis was an easy choice for the game's first star after recording the only shutout in the series after being robbed of that honor late in game 3.  In the eyes of Rangers' fans heros and Memorial Cup champions: Michael Ricahrds, David Clarkson, Adam Keefe, and Andre Benoit had played their last moments in the Rangers red white & blue.  Richards one of the greatest captains in team history struggled to contain himself during the press conference after the game.  Andre Benoit leaves Kitchener after establishing a mark for most career points by a defenceman that may never be touched throughout the remainder of team history.  Evan McGrath will be the lone Ranger, remaining from the Memorial Cup championship team of 2003 next season.  On the other side of the ice reserved jubilation, Danny Svyret was presented the Wayne Gretzky trophy symbolic of the Western Conference champions, the Knights elected to ignore the trophy, having bigger fish to fry on their march to erasing some ugly team history, they'll run up against the Ottawa 67's in a bid to win the franchises' first OHL championship.