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Last visit to the Soo - good riddance!

The Rangers have likely made their last top at the Sault Memorial Gardens ever.

It's not a building that's been particularly friendly to the Rangers.  It's not a trip that's overly enjoyable for the Rangers to make.  The Rangers are done in Sault Ste. Marie this year, and they're probably ecstatic about it.  The Rangers will be back in the Soo, but it probably won't be until next season, barring a miracle, the 10th place Greyhounds won't force another visit by the Rangers to their fair city.  It's not that the 'Hounds are distant from a playoff spot, they are only 2 points outside of both 8th and 9th place in the conference after their victory over the Rangers, it's just that the two clubs probably aren't destined to meet in the postseason, if they happen to the Rangers have won the last 4 straight including two in the OHL's most northern city.  Still the losses, despite the recent promise and acquisitions that the team have made do create some gigantic question marks.  For one the remainder of the league isn't really struggling with the Greyhounds in the same manner.

The Rangers' radio crew of Don and Gary were left scratching their heads as was Peter DeBoer at times.  The Rangers walked into Sudbury, a team who's right in thick of the action in the Eastern Conference and blitzed them, looking like championship material in the process.  In the Soo, the Rangers either simply struggle with the Greyhound's style of play, or a simple lapse.  Certainly it did not help that the Rangers got rather lacklustre performances from both of their import defenders: Jakub Kindl and Boris Valabik, both of whom will not be seen in a Rangers' jersey until the new year as both defenders are playing in the World Junior Championship.  Both may have been guilty of looking forward to playing and speaking with their fellow countrymen than the task at hand.  Matt Lashoff who has recently rediscovered his offensive touch departed from the game early after a hard collision in the corner at the Rangers' end of the ice leaving the blueline vulnerable.  16-year-old rookie Dan Kelly will join the Rangers as a call up starting next Friday.  Kelly has had a very impressive camp with the Rangers but will have to prove worthy of a regular shift with several rookie defenders waiting in the wings.

Gajewski was tested often by the Rangers, he was the third star after carrying a shutout late into the second period.

Jason Pitton got the ball rolling early in the first period for the Greyhounds, who's fans were vocal in their dispute of the early penalties to their Greyhounds.  The Rangers had 4 man advantages in the first 14 minutes of regulation, and did not prove overly effectively on the power play something that has struggled since being shutdown against the Knights after 21 power play goals over only 6 games leading into that matchup.  The power play well quickly ran dry for the Rangers who have those four man advantages woudl only receive 2 power plays throughout the duration of regulation time.  The Greyhounds had 4 consecutive power plays in the second period, highlighted by a two man advantage with Lashoff in the box and then outstanding penalty killer extrodinaire: Boris Valabik.  34 seconds in Michael Quesnele scored his first OHL goal, in only his third career game.  Quesnele, the Soo native and blueliner has 2 points in only 3 career games.

Matt Auffrey who beat Kyle Gajewski in the shootout in the Rangers' last visit snapped the sophomore netminder's shutout late in the second period.  With Brad Good in the box and the Rangers on the power play, the Rangers started to mount a comeback, but the Greyhounds' nearly regained their 2-goal lead on a defensive breakdown.  Mark Packwood came up big and could not be faulted for either goal scored on him.  It would appear that Kyle Gajewski was just a little bit better.  The Rangers pressed hard in the third period and held the play during the final minutes of the third period but could not get the illusive tying goal..