If there was ever a game to have the officials conspire against the Rangers to force a loss, it was probably best for it to be this one. Exhibition scores do not count, the only other exhibition game will be in Kitchener where fans would have been fairly restless given some of the penalty totals the Rangers were racking up. Not that anyone would accuse the officials of being impartial, listening to fans in all 20 OHL arenas its pretty clear most fans, or at least a number from each of the 20 OHL homes feel their team is being slighted. We'll even make the bold prediction that some one at one point in the home opener against the Windsor Spitfires, will ask the officials if they plan on boarding the Windsor bus, for the return trip with the team. Still, if there was ever a night where a conspiracy could apply it would be this one, not only did the Colts enjoy more two-man advantages (8) than the Rangers did total power plays (7), but one of 19 power plays against the Rangers appeared entirely fabricated as the off-ice and on-ice officials made the error of double-penalizing one of the Rangers' minors while the Colts scored on a delayed penalty. Still, the penalty-killing, the infractions and the goals against were part of what will be a very steep learning curve for many of the younger Rangers who enjoyed a trial through fire in their third exhibition matchup.
The Rangers dressed their fewest amount of
veterans and fewest amount of total players yet. Only 14 skaters
were pressed into action as 10 regulars were out of the lineup working
out with various pro teams, in addition Myles Applebaum who is currently
rehabing an injury and was seen in the building observing the game.
For the third time in three games, the Rangers had a new captain.
This time it was 4th year veteran: Jean-Michel Rizk at the helm, after
failing to land a point in the first two exhibition games, Rizk scored
the first two goals on the night for the Rangers. On the blueline
the Rangers didn't have the services of any of the big four (Valabik, Lashoff,
Fraser, Kindl), leaving Matt Pepe and Gyenes as the only OHL battle-hardened
defenders, unfortunately the two "veterans" would combine for 14 minutes
in the box, compounding problems for what was already a very thin blueline.
The Colts started by trading a pair of early first period goals with the Rangers, Travis Fuller scored for the Colts, and Jean-Michael Rizk evened things up while on the powerplay for the Rangers, snapping in a shot from the side of the net. From that point the Rangers got into penalty trouble, this trouble was something that seemed virtually unending, infact at one point the Colts had a 15-4 edge in man advantages. The Rangers early penalty trouble, involved three consecutive two-man advantages, the first of which the Colts scored on, Ryan Hamilton scored from the side of the net giving the Colts a lead they would not relinquish, Lombardi and Fuller would put the Rangers into a 4-1 whole. Early in the second period Rizk and Spaling combined on Rizk's second goal of the game. Justin Piquette helped the Rangers get to within one when he took a Aaron Lewicki rebound and threw a relatively careless excuse-me backhander past Andrew Perugini, who was replaced by Marc Stuart. Methot and Nikiforov both scored their first OHL exhibition goals and Hamilton added a third to open up a 7-3 lead on the Rangers.
The Rangers appeared to be en route to an unlikely comeback early in the thrid when they received a trio of powerplays back-to-back. Nick Spaling beat netminder Marc Stuart on a shot from the goal-line and well out from the net, the Rangers were enjoying their first and only two-man advantage of the game. Yves Bastien scored his second of exhibition play on the backend of the two man advantage to bring the Rangers to within two. Bastien's goal was one of the most impressive of the night, a blast from the very high slot that found the mesh at the back of the net extremely quickly. Travis Fuller snuffed out any chance of the Rangers continuing that comeback completing a hattrick, he had a four point net, only bested by Ryan Hamilton who had a 5-point night (2-3). Jordan Shine scored the Colts' 6th power play goal to close out the scoring, in a 9-5 Colts win. The Rangers lost the shootout 1-0, Daniel Minor appeared to have been stopped on the first shot, but the puck just barely wobbled over the line, and both the linesman and referee indicated a goal. Justin Azevedo and Sean Courtney both were thwarted on their deke attempts before Nick Spaling's slapper missed the mark by a wide margin to finish the post-game event.