Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

Site searchWeb search


 
Azevedo a natural in snooze-fest
 


Vladimir Svacina had a great effort but lacked the scoring touch around the net, here the puck hops over his stick.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


The Rangers' didn't romp over the rebuilding IceDogs, perhaps that is not a surprise.  It's not that the Rangers didn't look dominant on home ice, nor that the 6-1 victory over the Spirit with a whooping 65 shots on goal didn't set sky high expectations.  Problem?  The Rangers don't ever crush the IceDogs in Mississauga.  Their first visit (during a season where the Rangers effectively missed the postseason - falling in a one-game playoff for the final postseason entry), since that time the Rangers' have hardly been impressive at times in Mississauga - that being said, they also haven't been friendly enough to leave even one solitary point in Mississauga for the IceDogs during the entire history of that franchise.  This game was no different, though it was not a blowout by any stretch once the second period got going the final outcome of the game was hardly in question.  It wasn't that the Rangers' were dominant, but they did pick up a sparkling defensive effort by big Boris Valabik and Greg Gilbert's IceDogs didn't get so much a sniff at the Rangers' goal.  The IceDogs should be created with keeping to their game plan, keeping things slow and bottled up, hoping to capitalize on Rangers' errors.  It wasn't that the Rangers' performance was flawless, nor the performance of their backup netminder Mark Packwood, they made some little mistakes - just not many of them.

The Misssissauga IceDogs started former Cambridge WinterHawks netminder: Lucas Lobsinger picked up the start.  Lobsinger was property of the Peterborough Petes, his acquisition just prior to the deadline cost fellow former Petes' netminder: Aaron Barton whom the Rangers' appeared to scored at will against in Kitchener, his job tending the Mississauga net.  Originally Lobsinger was the netminder covetted by the IceDogs, but they chose to settle for Aaron Barton, when the Petes' finally traded their college-bound netminder it was Barton that had to leave.  There's also this Michael Ouzas guy, thought of as one of the best netminders in the OHL this season, he was traded to the Attack, and the Rangers' will simply have to take everyone's word in regards to his play, as they have yet to play him this season, missing the workhorse netminder seemingly at every turn.  The Rangers got off to another slow start, something that heen a disturbing occurance all season long on and off.  After icing the pucks a few times to get things rolling the Rangers' got their break.  Justin Azevedo got things started only minutes into the game, he came in as the trailer on a two-on-one rush after Lomas fanned on the shot having his stick lifted, and despite some room barely snuck the puck in off of Lobsinger's skate, moments later the Rangers had a glorious chance to make it 2-0, but Craig Voakes put the puck through the empty crease just missing the far post.


Justin Azevedo scores his second of three goals on a 2-man advantage late in the second.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com

The IceDogs wouldn't simply give up the ghost on home ice after the Rangers' scored early.  The Rangers' powerplay struggled early and worse yet during one extremely complacent looking man advantage in the opening period the Rangers' nearly coughed up a shorthanded goal, Jakub Kindl was forced to apply the hook just sufficiently enough as to avoid a penalty shot but not the actual hooking infraction that prematurely ended the Rangers' power play, still Mark Packwood still had to make a very talented stop on Vladimir Svacina.  Just when it appeared as if the Rangers might be en route to their 5th team shutout during the second period, the Rangers' power play had a much worse capper.  First Justin Azevedo missed the puck at the point and then Matt Lashoff was slow into the zone expecting Mark Packwood to play the puck.  Svacina quickly got to the loose puck and fired it over to Swift who pounded a one-timer through the pads of the 17-year-old Ranger netminder.  But late in the period with the Mississauga IceDogs playing the textbook conservative game, things went bad for the home team.  The IceDogs' took consecutive penalties putting them down two men.  The Rangers' were all over the IceDogs and Lobsinger looked as if he was primed for a first star performance.  The Rangers' hit and post and fanned on a bouncing puck in the crease area that eventually squeezed loose to Azevedo who chopped the puck out of midair not allowing Lobsinger a chance to get over.

Azevedo completed the 'trick late in the period.  David Lomas made a nice stop at the blueline and put the puck on goal when it should have been cleared, and Azevedo went to the net as he has probably been instructed to do all of his career, he picked up the puck and scored his OHL first hattrick.  He is the second Ranger' to complete the feat thus far this season.  In the dying seconds of the middle frame, Cory Konecny got his stick up on one of the IceDogs' players and rookie Jordan Skellett decided to defend his teammate, jumping into a quickly developing scrum.  After landing the first couple of blows Konecny, the much more seasoned scrapper schooled the youngster.  The IceDogs threatened early in the third when on a two-man advantage (their second of the game) they rang the puck off of both posts and out.  By that point Michael Pelech had put the game out of reach with his 2nd goal of the season.  Yves Bastien fought his way to the net and Pelech jumped into the crease area to bag the goal on a rebound.  After going scoreless in 9 power plays to start the game the IceDogs' Jordan Owens scored with 64 seconds left to make the final 4-2.  The Rangers' could not find the empty Mississauga net late in the game.  For the second straight game, the Rangers' dressed two forwards under the limit due to injuries.  Boris Valabik picked up third star after a very strong defensive effort.