Are the Rangers' finally catching on? Or is this another tease for the Rangers faithful and coach alike. The Rangers didn't just look competent playing at even strength, they simply carried the play for the bulk of the time while playing at even strength. The Rangers scored 4 goals that will all funnel to the bottom line of the Kitchener Rangers plus minus race, a rather ugly race that has a vast majority of players who are accumulating some abismal plus-minus stats. After finally breaking out against Windsor and Sarnia two weeks' ago the Rangers were only capable of scoring while on the power play during the previous weekend and as a result the Rangers dropped a disappointing 4-3 decision to the Belleville Bulls, and then razor-thin margin of victory (a shootout win) over the Otters in Erie. Surprisingly, it could be very easily argued that this matchup between the Rangers and Attack is the only one that the Rangers have deserved full marks for their victory. The previous two matchups this season have been at many points one-sided affairs where Rangers' netminder: Dan Turple has simply stolen the show. On this night Turple wasn't an exception to the rule, and as a result Turple was named the game's 3rd star over several Rangers who had multiple point games.
This game after 7 straight losses to the Rangers,
the Attack turned the intensity needle up to high, and as a result the
opening 10 minutes of the first period were fast and furious. The
hard-hitting Attack decided to take it to the Rangers, and without infraction
some of the wildest hitting of the year occured on one sequence in the
Attack defensive zone. First, Allen can flying into the Rangers'
zone and collided with Fraser, then Pepe, Peckham slammed Konecny into
the boards at centre ice and then a series of collisions in the corner
of the Attack zone started by Fraser who was playing dangerously out of
position. To compound the Rangers' defensive woes on the play Boris
Valabik charged into the play at the Attack net in an attempt to force
Peckham to atone for a hit on charge on Fraser who clearly did not have
the puck when hit. While the hitting and fiestiness continued Matt
Auffrey found Voakes out in front of the net and a quick dip later and
the Rangers had the early 1-0 lead. The Attack wouldn't take their
time in replying. The Rangers didn't help themselves in terms of
discipline, first Lomas took a cross-checking minor in the offensive zone
and while killing that infraction newcomer: Victor Oreskovich was a little
overzealous in forechecking and took a second minor. The Rangers
nearly killed the two overlapping minors but late in the power play Mike
Angelidis scored taking a pass from Ryan who was behind the goal.
Later in the first period, Justin Azevedo fought his way out from the corner to the front of the net, he couldn't score by a rebound or two later Davis Lomas was able to bag a goal. The goal was Lomas' first non-power play goal of the season surprisingly for the winger who lead the Spitfires' in goals with 37 last season. David Lomas scored again for the Rangers on the power play as he has done in each of his first two games as a Ranger. The goal was both late in the power play and late in the period. Lomas did what he does best and dug a garbage goal out of a scrum from infront and put the puck in just prior to the buzzer giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Justin Azevedo really opened things up midway through the second period with a wrister that found the top corner of the net after glancing off of Knechtel's blocker. From that point on the Rangers started getting sloppy defensively after gaining the three goal lead. Turple was there to bail them out on several occasions that may have otherwise been severely embarassing but the Rangers continued to with their lead, and Knechtel finished the period strong after allowing the goal to Azevedo that he may have wanted back. One Attack defender that struggled in particular was Kyle Lamb, several Rangers drove to the net in what should have been futile attempts with Lamb maintaining body positioning, but allowing several Rangers including Voakes an Henderson (as seen above) access to the Attack net while taking infractions on the play. On the flip side, Bob Sanguinetti rang one shot off of the post from the blueline and bounces similar to that were going against many of the Attack players all night long.
It appeared as if the Attack were well on their way to a comeback when Joshua Bailey batted the puck intot he Rangers' net while falling to the ice on a second rebound. The comeback hit a wall just over a minute later, Jean-Michel Rizk centered the puck from behind the net, he missed his intended target: Kevin Henderson on the rush, but Craig Voakes followed and immediately slammed the puck home for his second goal of the game. The Attack appeared to be poised to get right back into things as Matt Auffrey and then Jean-Michel Rizk took minors only 7 seconds apart, the second for delay of game, causing a rather lengthy two-man advantage where Turple was once again putting on a clinic in the Rangers' net, especially his stop on a Jeff Kyrzakos one-timer at the side of the goal. Jakub Kindl turned the win into a rout, blasting a power play point shot into the top corner of the net. One a two-man advantage in the game's dying minutes Oreskovich got his first as a Ranger, a gimme shot from the side the net, and Matt Auffrey scored on the back-end of the power play. OHL defensive scoring leader: Andrej Sekera was held off of the scoresheet, which is good news for Rangers' defender Jakub Kindl who's been on fire of late, and had a pair of points on the night. Kindl continued his ascent of the OHL defenseman point leaders' list, he now sits 5th, closing in on both Attack defenders: Sanguinetti and Sekera who leads the league in defensive scoring. The Rangers were 4 for 7 on the power play, an indication that the power play isn't slowing down, despite drawing some bronx cheers during a four minute power play for a high stick where the Rangers iced the puck numerous times. Craig Voakes in both effort and result, probably had the best night of his career. Several times he just put his head down and drove the net hard without any passing options, he had a 5 point night including 2 goals!