When things aren't going well, expect the worst. It's what the Rangers must have thought when in the third period they were starring down a scenario that would leave the team two-men shorthanded for 2 minutes and 52 seconds, with all three of the team's 19 year old defenders jammed in the penalty box at the same time. It was all part and parcel of a third period absoluletely disrupted with penalties, penalties and more penalties culminating in 17 non-coincidental minors in total leaving the Rangers and Spirit playing with one team or both shorthanded for every second of the last 14 minutes and 52 seconds of regulation time. The Rangers entered that disasterous third tied 4-4, but yielded the winning goal on a blast from the high slot while attempting to kill off the longest five-on-three man advantage that the team has seen all season long, perhaps longer than anything the club saw in the previous season either! The victory had to be sweetest for netminder Ryan Daniels who turned away 35 of the 39 Rangers shots for the win after yeilding 5 goals in 20 minutes last season during his OHL debut a 12-2 blowout victory in Kitchener against many of the same Rangers.
Unfortunately the Rangers recent record of
doing virtual face-plants on the way out of the gates continued in Saginaw,
Jesse Gimblett stepped in and blasted a shot past Turple's glove giving
the hometown Spirit an early lead while on the powerplay, unfortunately
after allowing 2 goals on the first 4 shots the night prior, for Turple
this was his first opportunity on this night as well. And he had
to know that the hook was on it's way should another puck get past him
in the opening 5-7 minutes. Jesse Gimblett a scoring hero for the
Spirit was a catalyst for the Rangers powerplay early, he took a delay
game of penalty in the first period clearing the puck over the glass sandwiched
between a pair of penalties by his teammates, the Rangers would end up
with a pair of two man advantages, on the first brief chance they'd fail
to score, but on the second opportunity (the longer of the two) the Rangers
struck, Matt Auffrey knocked a rebound past Jeff Daniels, tying the game,
only 69 seconds later while still on a one-man advantage Patrick Davis
slammed a one-timer past Daniels, giving the Rangers' their first lead
since their 3-1 win over the Frontenacs 4 games earlier.
Early in the second period more penalty trouble, this time for the Rangers, Fraser and Pepe both found their way to the box, and the Spirit powerplay connected for a pair of quick goals 1:02 apart, the first coming while on a two-man advantage. Ryan McDonough slipped a puck past Turple and then Tom Pyatt pounced on a rebound that landed behind Turple between his legs. Only minutes later, Jakub Kindl would send an absolute rocket through Ryan Daniels (for Kindl it was the second time that he had beaten the Spirit netminder in his career). The tide appeared to turn in the Spirit favour after an amazing effort shorthanded by Jesse Gimblett, he rushed over center and with Matt Lashoff in hot pursuit got Dan Turple on the move and slipped the puck through the five-hole. Matt Auffrey tied the game for the Rangers for the 3rd time, tipping a Jakub Kindl point shot through Daniels for his second of the game and third of the season. The penalty leading to the goal was a severely delayed call to Jesse Gimblett for clearing the puck over the glass for the second time in the game, it took a while but after a lengthy conference the four on-ice officials came to a concensus on the issue sending Gimblett to the box.
In the third period more two minute infractions were in order. In fact an excessive amount of penalties. The most costly of which was an unsportsmanlike minor to captain Mark Fraser who had already taken a tripping minor on the play, Valabik followed with a slashing call and only 5 seconds later Matt Lashoff accidentally cleared the puck over the glass. The scene was set, 2:52 the Rangers would have to survive while shorthanded two men. The Rangers were in survival mode, but only seconds prior to the expiration of Fraser's first penalty Patrick McNeil stepped into a slapper in the high slot that beat a dazed Dan Turple. Things could have been worst for the Rangers but Justin Azevedo took a clear breakaway and was hauled to the ice, the Rangers did protest the fact that a penalty shot wasn't called, but it may have been for the best as the Rangers were still in dire need of some manpower help, the result was a slashing minor to Gimblett. The two teams traded penalties through the remainder of regulation with the calls leaving the Rangers' defensive corps decimated to the point that they once had 4 forwards on the ice on a 4-on-3 powerplay. The Rangers would pull their netminder with two minutes remaining and even enjoyed a powerplay that unfortunately was broken up by a Craig Voakes tripping infraction. Jean-Michel Rizk, the only former Spirit player left on the Rangers wasn't able to dress after suffering a knee injury in the loss to Sault Ste. Marie while fighting with Andrew Shennan. Michal Birner has a trio of assists and now has 5 points against the Rangers this season.