The Windsor Spitfires are done in Kitchener for the season. They must be ecstatic that they are not coming back this season. Their only two visits of the regular season have been extremely humbling losses, where they've exhibitioned nothing but netminding. In both instances the losses to the Rangers could prove to be especially costly for the Windsor Spitfires who entered both games with the Rangers on highs, in both instances coming from behind to win with two goal deficits the night before. Unfortunately for the Spits the momentum that they've been able to generate on the way into the Aud in Kitchener has stopped, pretty much as soon as the team had stepped onto the ice. Following a 9-2 victory on opening night, the Rangers blanked the Spitfires 5-0 in the return match in Kitchener - hardly the revenge that many might have envisioned. Infact disappointing for a Spitfires team who appeared to be turning the corner after finally moving disgruntled star: Steve Downie, something that unfortunately until recently has been a stormy cloud hanging over the team. Still, the Rangers' 2-0 record might go a long way in reversing a trend where the Rangers haven't won a season-series against the Spitfires (a team that coach Peter DeBoer once captained), since DeBoer's first season in Kitchener coaching the Rangers.
Again the Rangers relied on the power play
for their boost in this matchup, after taking the play to the Spitfires
for much of the opening period. Jakub Kindl was the marksman for
the Rangers working with a familiar partner just having returned from injury
Justin Azevedo. Azevedo worked the puck back and fourth with the
sophomore defender and Kindl stepped into the center of the blueline and
wired a shot that found it's way in off of the post finally giving the
Rangers a 1-0 lead late in the first. The goal atoned for a power
play incident earlier in the game where Kindl found his stick snapped in
half as he was making contact with the puck. Underage rookie netminder:
Jake Fisher really came back well after barely surviving OHL initiation
in Kitchener in September. It was Fisher who was victimized for 5
goals in a third period that quickly turned into a blowout to open the
season after then-starter Kyle Knechtel was chased after two period, trying
to shake up the team. Fisher didn't just play better, he looked better!
In his previous visit to Kitchener Fisher wore primarily green and white
equipment, but it was his cool play which impressed the most. Fisher's
rebound control was substantially better and he also showed a very quick
as well as active glove hand in goal. There certainly were not any
gifts for the Rangers in during the first 40 minutes, aside from a delay
of game infraction in the second period when he pulled the puck behind
the red line in the corner while the Spits were on the power play.
Justin Azevedo, a very welcome addition to the Rangers' power play, was at work again in the second period after a period of frustration and failed scoring attempts, Justin Azevedo took a pass on the faceoff circle that he turned into a one-timer, that snuck though former Ranger: Paul McFarland who attempted to block it, and Jake Fisher who just couldn't get over and in position quickly enough to make the stop. They say that stupid penalties are the hardest ones to kill and this one that the Spits were scored on was for too many men on the ice, with the team caught skating with 6 white jerseys on the ice. Fans also enjoyed a good scrap, Mark Fraser scored a huge win over Mitch Maunu, but as a result they had to work without their captain for 17 minutes as he received the instigator. The Rangers finally broke things open in the third period, perhaps their most dominant period of the season. Justin Azevedo stepped in from the point to throw a quick screened wrister through Fisher for the Rangers' third power play goal of the night. Minutes later Michael Pelech appeared to score his first of the season, but a quick whistle robbed him of the sure goal. The Rangers pressed on undaunted, Henderson who's been a tireless worker and on Tuesday night a healthy scratch due to the numbers game. Henderson had a strong effort and was rewarded when he busted out of the corner through stick checks and bodies and managed to chip the puck while off balance and on the goal line right under the crossbar for his first of the season.
After so many strong power plays, the Rangers nearly coughed up the shutout late, Peter Aston, OHL defenceman of the month, while playing for the Petes took a breakaway. Dan Turple took a gamble with Kindl in hot pursuit, sending out a flying poke check was the just effective enough to knock the puck off of Aston's stick. Craig Voakes closed the scoring with the Rangers' 4th power play goal of the night, he tipped in a Matt Lashoff shot from the point for his third point on the night, he would have had four it wasn't for a very strong stop by Fisher during the second period to keep the Spitfires into the game where Voakes had also tipped a shot. Ryan Donally, who's play has been improving of late filled in for Yves Bastien who was effective but wasn't able to get a clean break, Donally stripped the puck while shorthanded from a Spitfire defender and proceeded in alone before firing the puck in off of Fisher. The Rangers penalty kill was absolutely sensational, for the most part they kept the Spitfires out of the zone altogether, Windsor was 0 for 8 on the night. The Rangers also accumulated 45 shots in the final two periods. Sean Smyth and Nick Spaling were healthy scratches for the Rangers.