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IceDogs victims of frustrated Rangers

Aaron Barton comes out to make a strong poke check on Evan McGrath who was on a break.

Perhaps Rangers' coach Peter DeBoer said it best.  "They're not going to be throwing us any parades after this win," perhaps not, but the win does allow the Rangers to dodge some of the heat from the media and perhaps draw some attention away from the trade rumours that seem to be swirling around a struggling Rangers' club.  The spooky Halloween deal never materialized, and with the arrival of a Tuesday night home date another 24 hours passed and the answers seem to be from within.  At least against the lowly IceDogs, a team that mortgaged their future on a playoff run that spanned exactly 9 days.  To add to the team's pains, superstar Patrick O'Sullivan graduated and most unexpectedly blue-chip defender: Adam Abraham quit hockey to persue a career in baseball over the off-season.  Without minimizing the winning effort it was a game that the Rangers were simply expected to win.  It's been two reasonably solid games, where the Rangers have outshot their opponents, the Saginaw Spirit, who sit firmly on top of the conference in winning percentage, and this matchup against the struggling IceDogs.  In addition the Rangers' power play has gained some momentum as well, connecting 7 times in their last two games (7 for 28).

Call this game a first for the Rangers 14 games into the season, they've seldomly used their backup netminder, young Mark Packwood, and by the same token has seen the backup netminders of many teams.  This was a battle of the backups in arguably what could be called a battle to stay out of the basement of the extremely competitive Western Conference.  Both Dan Turple and Michael Ouzas, overagers were relegated to door duty on this night.  The best chance in the early going went to Justin Azevedo he broke in shorthanded was hooked, and then still from a poor angle managed a shot that rung off of the post on the near side.  Later on in the period the shooting accuracy of Azevedo would pay off, while on the powerplay Azevedo picked up a pass from Lashoff on the point, and blasted a shot, the one-timer glanced off of Aaron Barton's pad and then into the net giving the Rangers the upper hand early.  Unfortunately the IceDogs stung the Rangers late in the period, with the Rangers killing a minor penalty, three Rangers got bunched up at the point as the IceDogs entered the zone, Matt Pepe was caught out of position trying to make a hit at the blueline and as a result Oskar Osala made a picture perfect pass on to the tape of Jadran Beljo's stick and he took his time being left all alone in wristing the puck past Packwood.

David  Pszenyczny celebrates a second period powerplay goal to bring the IceDogs to within 2.

With the Rangers up 5-on-3 in the first minute of the second period, Evan McGrath was found at the bottom of the faceoff circle, he simply picked the top corner on Aaron Barton like a true sniper.  One of the best looking goals of the night was scored by Patrick Davis, on another power play in the second period, Patrick Davis managed to manipulate his stick while being driven into the ice by Craig Cescon.  Cescon was assessed a minor for checking-from-behind on the play leading to continued man advantage for the Rangers, giving them more chances to put the IceDogs away.  Later in the period, Justin Azevedo set up Mike Duco who used his speed on the play to fly ahead of the rush.  The pass connected giving Duco a clean break from the hash marks in, Duco quickly found the five-hole giving the Rangers  3-goal cushion.  Only seconds after play resumed a scary collision.  Stefan Legein and Jakub Kindl met knee on knee, Kindl ended up on the receiving end, and Legein received an undesirable major and game misconduct on the play. Surprisingly the Rangers managed to go shorthanded while the major penalty for kneeing was still being served, David Pszenyczny came in front the point while playing 4-on-3 and was able to wrist the puck past Packwood.  As part and parcel of the major penalty still the Rangers got a two-man advantage and Evan McGrath managed yet another lazer precision shot on the short side again.

Full marks to rookie Mike Pelech, who is still waiting for his first OHL goal, he flew down the ice near the boards with lots of skating room twice and elected to pass rather than shot, the first time it failed and actually resulted in a penalty on the play the second time the pass landed perfectly on Craig Voakes' stick and he made little mistake in beating Aaron Barton.  Voakes and Beljo traded goals in the final two minutes of play resulting in a 7-3 final for the Rangers.  Both the total goals scored and margin of victory were the highest of the season for the Rangers since their season opener against the Windsor Spitfires.  Rookie Nick Spaling had a pair of points and was a +2 on the night.  On this night all of the rookie forwards were causing havoc around the Mississauga net, and many were rewarded.  None of the Rangers overagers saw action, Ryan Donally and Sean Courtney sat out and Dan Turple didn't see the ice.  Jean-Michel Rizk continued to be out with a knee injury.