Make it 5 straight for the Rangers! After a game against London that was about as convincing a win as Rob Schremp's excuse that he was simply pointing out an offending Rangers' fan, Kitchener came out with a dominant effort in Sudbury and left the 'Nickel City' with a pair of points on their way to Sault Ste. Marie where they face the Greyhounds on Sunday night. A season-high crowd of 5,130 spectators took in the effort, but the Rangers were quick to take them out of the game and did not take their time in opening the scoring. Kevin Beech at times seemed to be all that stood between the Rangers and a blow-out victory.
The Rangers used a very similar approach to their winning formula at home against the Knights. They successfully rolled four lines all night long and those lines that didn't score were a constant thorn in the side of the Sudbury Wolves. Perhaps one of the most aggrevating line combinations, one that stayed together most of the night incorporated three of the Rangers hardest working forecheckers, who's numbers all end in 7. Michael Pelech (#27) was centering: Cory Konecny (#7) and Kevin Henderson (#47), those three simply created havoc in the Sudbury end. It wasn't all hitting and throwing their weight around on the ice although the trio did their share of that as well, they were extremely effect in heaming the Wolves into their own zone. They were rewarded very early in the game, fought the puck out of the corners and then got infront where they rushed the net, Michael Pelech scored his first ever OHL goal by slapping a puck that was sitting behind Beech into the empty cage. It was the type of 'garbage goal' that the team seemed to be begging for only two weeks ago.
The game started with what appeared to be some
bad blood as Matt Pepe and Devin DiDiomete squared off immediately after
an icing call to start the game only 6 seconds in. The two middle-weights
circled for quite some time and then dug in for what was an intense and
entertaining scrap with each skater landing some quality blows, Pepe got
the last laugh as he landed a right square on DiDiomete's face to finish
the fight and Diomete's jersey came off resulting in a 10-minute misconduct.
Early in the second period Tomas Sample would win a rather convincing decision
over Kitchener's Jean-Michel Rizk, to Rizk's credit he did go down early
in the fight but fought his way to his feet landing a few blows before
officials stepped in when it appeared as if the combatants were growing
tired. Things did nearly degenerate at the conclusion of the game
after Benoit Pouliot went in for a hit along the boards with his elbow
up in the final minute, Valabik couldn't find a dance partner and Matt
Lashoff refused to drop his gloves when Kevin DiDiomete went calling.
When the Wolves started to sneak back into the game midway through the first, the Rangers got a power play chance late in the period. They didn't waste their time, with Nick Foligno in the box for hooking they did not waste any time on the power play, Azevedo stepped into a point shot only 9 seconds later from the top of the circle that beat Kevin Beech giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead. They threatened for more at the tail end of the period until Yves Bastien went off for roughing. Playing near his hometown for the first time in his OHL career Bastien had a rather large contingent of fans at the game, those fans decided to applaud Bastien when his name was announced for the roughing minor.
The Wolves started the second period fresh on a power play Jonathan D'Aversa found Benoit Pouliot all alone at the side of the net as the Wolves rushed into the zone, he snapped the tape-to-tape pass right onto Pouliot's stick and Benoit simply slid the puck along the ice over the goal line as he was unharassed behind the Rangers' defenders. The Rangers didn't waste any time regaining the momentum. Yves Bastien used his speed for the second time in the first two periods to blast around the Wolves' defenders, he could not score, but David Lomas scored after being held goalless in his last two games, gathering up the loose puck. The Lomas goal was only 17 seconds after Pouliot's Wolves' goal early in the period. The Rangers were simply dominant through the period, outshooting the Wolves 16-4 though they did not outscore Sudbury. At one point the Wolves had only one shot over the timespan of approximately 15 minutes, that being the Pouliot goal. Dan Turple found himself rather inactive in the middle frame while Beech had to make several huge stops including one spectacular glove save where he just managed to get enough of the puck to deflect it into the glass. Beech also used his size to his advantage, in stopping some one-timers from in close. Beech also got some help from his goal posts, Jean-Michel Rizk on an odd-man rush managed to coax Beech off of the near post but with a small opening in the top corner rang the puck off the post up high.
The Rangers appeared to have put this game to rest early in the third period, Matt Auffrey put a sniper-like shot just under the cross-bar stick side while the Rangers were enjoying a two-man advantage, his goal was scored with only 4 seconds remaining in a hitting from behind minor to Ryan Donally - the first of the two penalties. The Rangers despite some quality chances on that remainder of the power play couldn't put yet another insurance marker on the board, and eventually the Wolves gained some momentum, and probably played their best hockey while down 4-1. Matt Dias managed to score on a power play after Jakub Kindl took a delay of game minor accidentally flipping the puck into the stands. The Wolves only had one really good quality scoring attempt after that and Turple came up with a big stop on the one-timer chance. The Rangers had several chances at the empty net but failed to score on each of them. The Wolves have their teddy bear night on Sunday afternoon against the Petes, coincidentally the Petes were in Sault Ste. Marie, while the Rangers were in Sudbury playing the Wolves, the same teams flip-flop on Sunday. Mike Duco sat our with a sore knee.