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Struggles against the Soo continue
 


Dan Turple and company get enough of the puck to prevent a goal during the second period but take a penalty in doing so.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


A tale of two cities, both have names that start with the letter 'S' and on Sunday night entering OHL action both teams were tied for 10th place (9th if you please) at the bottom of the entire conference with 24 points.  The difference to the Rangers is just how hard one team has been on Kitchener and how the other team arguably has been playing dead against them.  The Greyhounds with a win on Sunday improved their regular-season, head-to-head record against the Rangers to 3-0, all one goal games.  While Sarnia and the Sting have not been so fortunate, they have are 0-3 against Kitchener this season with only one head-to-head game looming in Kitchener.  Each of those head-to-head battles thus far seems to be a blow-out, each time by a bigger margin than the last.

Unfortuantely for a game that was the only the second in the OHL televised coast-to-coast in Canada, the "new-look" rules seemed to be a thing of the past, as infraction were at an all-time low despite two officials and interference appeared to be as prevalent as ever!  But still the game did have it's moments and both teams lit up the shotclock combining for 73 shots on goal.  For the Rangers their 39 shots against were a disappointment seeing as how they had held their opponents to less than 30 shots in each of their last 4 games going into this one.  The Rangers may have been outshot but did appear to hold a small margin in quality scoring chances.  The first big chance occured in the first period when Jean-Michael Rizk broke in all alone against Gajewski, but was thwarted by Kyle's big glove head that popped up following the shot with great anticipation as the top corner was targetted.  There were numerous other chance that would be thwarted as the Rangers lead winger wasn't able to reach the pass on breaks during the first.  The Rangers also had one man-advantage that resulted in a total of 5 shots and immense pressure.
 



Kyle Gajewski juggles and loses the puck during the first period.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com

In the second period Jason Pitton finally broke the ice after a long stretch of scoreless hockey.  Pitton, a covetted veteran forward is in high demand by several competing teams.  Pitton has 6 goals in his last six games, including a hat trick two nights earlier in Guelph.  The lead wouldn't escape the second period.  The Rangers got some late pressure together late, and Matt Auffrey stepped out from behind the net to force the issue and was rewarded with a goal, breaking the shutout and in the process gaining a tie.  One thing that hurt the Rangers' cause was the lack of power play time, the Rangers only had a season-low three opportunities, while the Greyhounds enjoyed 6 chances, a couple of high-sticking calls made the difference.  The Rangers' did finish the 3 game weeekend perfect on the penalty kill, killing all 17 Greyhound opportunities.

Unfortunately after tough luck, shorthanded effort for the Rangers it being their third game in three nights for the first time in the season with essentially a patch-work defense, the bottom finally fell out for a very tired looking Rangers' squad.  Dan Gyenes sent a clearing shot into Scott Restoule's mid-section and he found Tyler Kennedy streaking to the Rangers' net, Kennedy made little mistake barely beating Turple who got over to cover the open side of the net quickly.  The Greyhounds had their chances with Turple vacating the Rangers' net, including a gimme empty netter that was just barely offside, with only 11 seconds left Dustin Jeffrey sealed the win with his 8th of the season.  The Rangers' top unit was a -3 on the night.  After missing the first two games of the weekend with flu-like symptoms, Craig Voakes returned to the lineup.  He and Auffrey played the point on at least one of the power plays, giving the Rangers ice-time with 5 fowards on the ice at once.