The Petes' entered the game with the best record in the OHL, ranked #2 in the entire CHL, but unfortuantely they didn't enter the game with Canada's World Jr. Tournament MVP: Steve Downie. The scrapy forward couldn't make it and perhaps it didn't matter as Downie's pressence may have not been enough to overcome the Rangers' balanced attack. Downie is easily one of the most annoying players in the OHL this season and he proved that thoroughly during the World Junior Championships in Vancouver. Due to suspensions, a trade from Windsor to Peterborough and at this time a near miss due to an international tournament, the Rangers have avoided the pesky forward for the entire season baring an OHL finals matchup which as it could turn out, may not be such a pipe dream. One of the more overlooked sub-plots, is a rather old rivalry between the Oshawa Generals and Peterborough Petes, during one of his last performances with the Generals, Dan Turple was chased early in the second period in his home rink, at the time the Civic in Oshawa during an 8-6 loss after 4 goals against. Since then the Rangers' top netminder has been exacting some revenge from beyond the conference. The Petes have only faced Turple twice in his Kitchener incarnation, but they haven't enjoyed it. Both times shutouts, last season it was Turple played behind an extremely shorthanded Rangers' squad in a surprising late season win on the road, this time it was a dominant effort by the Rangers backstopped by the veteran who was effective when called upon, including a penalty shot by Jordan Staal.
Give the Rangers' full credit for this win,
they came out prepared, focused and perhaps most importantly they came
out hitting, the physical contact quickly got the crowd of nearly 6,200
into things early and those fans displayed much of the intensity that the
Rangers brought to the rink themselves. Mike Duco found a way to
one-up the league's most-recognized "hit man" Patrick Kaleta, who wasn't
heard from overly much until the final seconds of the game. Duco
wasn't the only one out there hitting anything that moved, he simply led
the hit brigade. Kevin Henderson, Boris Valabik and Jean-Michel Rizk
amongst others weren't overly shy about throwing their weight around either.
The Rangers' impressive #3 unit of Konecny, Rizk and Spaling got the nod
to start in this game following their very impressive performance in the
Tuesday night matchup with the rival London Knights. That game resulted
in a shorthanded goal by Nick Spaling, in this match the trio were on the
ice for a Jakub Kindl goal, but it seemed as if they were on the ice for
all sorts of opportunities, but the hard-shooting Rizk couldn't break his
string of bad-luck around the opponent's net, he was still the game's second
star - though he did go pointless on the night.
The Rangers really held the edge during the first half of the opening period, they caused lots of turnovers and quickly chewed up the ice with quick turns, and basically smoothered a team that only one night earlier smoothered one of their Eastern Conference rivals the night before with a 6-0 victory over the Kingston Frontenacs. The Petes, only managed 4 shots on goal in the first period, the last 10 minutes of which they were held off of the shot clock. The Rangers also white-washed the only Petes' powerplay during a first period where interference was rampant, and power plays were scarce. But on the Rangers' first opportunity after a strong period, Evan McGrath who was playing with stitches in his tongue after a highstick on Tuesday night feed the puck cross-crease to David Lomas, who slapped it through Shantz who appeared to have the angle covered. Early in the second period, with only the second power play opportunity of the game the Rangers struck again, David Lomas was the marksman again this time, after picking up a rebound the Rangers' garbage-goal professional spun and fired the puck around Shantz while standing at the top of the crease. The Rangers really didn't take their time in making it 3-0 after the second goal of the game. Cory Konecny dropped the puck back to Jakub Kindl who drew Shantz into over commiting to one side of the net before wristing the puck past him, he'd try the same move later in the game, but fail to hit the net, as Shantz stayed closer to the post.
Midway through the second period, Justin Azevedo put a soft wrister over Shantz's shoulder to give the Rangers a commanding lead. Late in the period, David Lomas just narrowly missed the hat trick, which would have been the first in his tenure with the Rangers. This goal would have been on the power play as well, but somehow the puck stayed out of the net. Immediately after that man advantage, Valabik seemed livid with Waterloo-native: Greg Stewart. He stalked the 3rd year winger, and then once the two got close to the Rangers' zone with a second remaining in the period, Valabik punched Stewart when they caught up drawing a roughing minor, then a skirmish around the Rangers' net developed. While officials were attending to other chaos Stewart and Valabik broke free and dropped their gloves. For Valabik it was another mis-match win, but costly after he absorbed a 10-minute misconduct for having his jersey tie-down pop off. In the third period Rangers' fans were treated to a more fiercely contested battle between Mark Fraser and Justin Soryal - a pair of sophomore pugilists. The matchup, marked the first time in decades that the Rangers didn't see their Kitchener predecessors wearing their traditional maroon and white jerseys as the Petes' were wearing their 50th anniversary jerseys on this night.