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Meltdown in Guelph rises ire of coach

McGrath fires the puck over MacDonald's glove hand to tie the game in the first period.
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There was little sugar-coating the 4-2 Rangers' loss, little use in trying to as well.  The final score was flattering to the Rangers, and in reality without a huge come-from-behind effort in the first meeting of the two teams this season the Rangers would be down in the seasons series 0-4, still the Great Canadian Challenge Cup is in danger of leaving Kitchener, its' home for 3 of the last four seasons.  As much as possible within reason Rangers' head coach Peter DeBoer berated the performance on the after game radio show with Country 570's Gary Doyle.  Arriving at the rink and not skating with the Storm, one of the best if not the best skating team in the OHL.  That was just one of the criticisms of DeBoer who was obviously frustrated and fuming after watching the Rangers direct a season-low 15 shots on goal, and take nearly half of the third period before registering their first of only four shots on goal during a period where the Rangers, trailing 4-2 should have been playing desperation hockey.  DeBoer's frustration with his troops was never more evident than in the second period where he elected to use primarily members of his 3rd and 4th lines to play the power play while the Rangers had some time up two men playing 5-on-3.  Yes, the Storm broke up the Rangers winning streak but they didn't have much opposition in the Rangers who were thorougly outplayed.

The good news for the Rangers.  They do get a chance to redeem themselves and show up the division-leading Guelph Storm in Kitchener when the meet in the rematch on Tuesday.  Quick start for the Storm in this one.  Dan Turple wasn't able to coral an early rebound with the puck close to his five-hole, the Storm just kept on plugging and plugging away until finally the puck entered the net off of the stick of Ryan Callahan while on the power-play.  Evan McGrath evened things up for the Rangers while on a 5-on-3 power-play, from a poor angle, McGrath, who's proving this season to be one of the most dangerous snipers in the entire league, found just a little room over MacDonald's shoulder and directly under the crossbar.  The back end of the two-man advantage wasn't quite as attractive, the Rangers while still on the power-play allowed a 3-on-1 odd man rush against where Dan Turple had to bail them out.  Midway through the period Tyler Doig made a tremendous play with his stick taking aerial pass from Callahan and tipping it out of midair and nearly in, Turple barely had time to react, and when he did the puck was on the goal line waiting to be pounded into the net by Matt D'Agostini who was a late addition to the Canada-Russia challenge game in Kitchener.

Mark Packwood gets the puck out of the crowded crease in the second period.
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Unlike his previous three performances Dan Turple appeared to be having a far too adventurous night in goal for the Rangers there were tfar too many shots that weren't dealt with in a tiddy manner including one instance where the a rather ordinary shot found it's way off of the post and then sat between Turple's legs with him pretty much completely unaware.  The result was an ugly pile on which threatened to leave the Rangers down even more men with the Storm already on the power-play.  Just when it appeared as if the Rangers might escape from the first period only down by a goal, Bastien and Voakes took penalties to put the Rangers down two men and Ryan Callahan was able to blast a one timer through Turple taking a cross-ice pass.  The crushing blow did take time to come for the Rangers.  Mark Packwood who may have had his finest performance of the season though he was not overly busy at times but was effective in keeping the puck out.  When the Storm finally broke the game open it was pure hard work and not the speed and finesse that most will associate with the Guelph Storm hockey team that David Barr has been responsible for assembling among others in Guelph.  Brandon Biggers, an acquisition from the Knights in one of two teams designed to put London over the top in what was a spectacular season worked like a bull dog against the board, fighting with Matt Auffrey and Matt Lashoff for the puck Biggers just kept on plugging away and keeping the puck moving despite attempts by the Rangers to pin it against the boards, after emerging with the puck he ducked behind the Rangers' net and found Jamie Arniel directly in front who buried the pass giving the Storm a 4-1 lead.

The Rangers showed flashes of life late in the period.  It could be argued that the Storm simply helped the Rangers with some rare mental lapses, first Josh Godfrey took a minor for interference minor while tying up Yves Bastien who directly infront of the referee, followed by Ryan Potruff who advanced into the Rangers' zone shorthanded and then proceeded to get called for diving after trying to create the illusion that Jakub Kindl had brought him down with a hook.  Some of the lesser-known Rangers' forwards got to work on this man advantage and Nick Spaling took a rebound from a Matt Lashoff point shot that MacDonald couldn't see and made little mistake bringing the Rangers to within two.  Ryan Donally who returned after exactly a month off due to a concussion was infront of the net providing an effective screen on the powerplay.  The third period must have been resulted in the lowest shot total in any Rangers game in years.  The Storm led the Rangers in the shooting department 4-3 at period's end with a post struck on the empty net from the opposite end of the ice.  The Rangers were given a golden opportunity with just over 2 minutes left in regulation when Bradon Biggers picked up a game misconduct for a crosscheck to the head of Valabik while reaching up to hit the big Rangers' defender after he cleared the puck into the zone.  McGrath quickly nulified the advantage with a hooking call.  For Konecny it was his first game against his former team and he was not shy about throwing his weight around.  Ryan Potruff had the toughest night of any of the Storm players, first being called for diving with the mandatory 10 minute misconduct.  Then, on his next shift he got involved in a one-way tilt with Rangers' captian: Mark Fraser.