Congradulations Owen Sound - "You've been Turpled!" Pop culture has yet to acknowledge this reality show, but Owen Sound's experienced it 5 times this season. Perhaps just one more dose is on the way - who knows? Instead of hiding a camera and then surprising people with cream pies to the face, it's simply the Attack look as if they're about to score and then suddenly (they are Turpled) and the puck ends up either in the corner or the glove of this Turple guy. With possibly only one exception this season the Rangers have their larger-than-life netminder to credit for their ability to even have a chance against a still young Attack squad. In the Midwest division there isn't room for rebuilding teams, thee isn't room for youth, and perhaps that was the driving force behind the acquisition of Michael Ouzas the covetted overage netminder that was dispatched from the Mississauga Ice Dogs earlier in the season. The Rangers had dodged Ouzas to this point in the season, in their early season meeting with the IceDogs they met up wtih Aaron Barton, and once Ouzas had joined the Attack the Rangers missed him due to a suspension.
It was obvious after a bit of a backslide that
the Attack had turned things around. They took three of three games
last weekend highlighted by a win over the red hot Windsor Spitfires on
home ice. The Rangers were coming off of a victory over the basement
dweling Oshawa Generals a game where they failed to expand the lead to
a pair of goals until the final minute when the Generals were without a
netminder trying to tie the score. Predictably the Rangers got off
to a slow start, perhaps even a bad start. After the Rangers' penalty
kill when two consecutive games without allowing a power play goal against
the Attack struck early on a their first power play of the game with Matt
Lashoff in the box. Later in the period it was Matthew Kang who was
given far, far too much time infront of the Rangers' net coming in from
the faceoff circle and he was allowed to beat Turple to the far side of
the net. The Rangers' No. 3 unit consisting of Myles Applebaum who
is hopefully healthy after a number of injuries have set his season back
immeasurably to this point was strong, with Rizk infront they had the puck
bouncing behind Ouzas in the first period but could not bag a goal.
Turple really shut the door late in the period he made one good stop and
then pushed off from post to post to make a spectacular shot keeping the
hardly deserving Rangers (to that point) within a pair of goals.
The Rangers finally got on the board early in the second period, Justin Azevedo scored while on the power play, he was knocked over resulting in a delayed penalty which would have put the Attack down a pair after a whistle, but Azevedo had other ideas he got up and picked up a rebound putting in behind Ouzas. The Rangers would have a full two minutes to work with immediately after the goal on the power play but would fail to score. The turning point of the game may have occured late in the second period. Dan Gyenes took advantage of a prone Matthew Kang against the boards at the bench. Payton Liske took exception to the hit and went after Gyenes, the rugged but usually mild mannered Rangers' defender. Seconds into the bout Liske took a pair of punches, the first to his nose and the second square on the chin and dropped like a tonne of bricks. But the scene quickly went to one of humour to one of more concern when Liske got with the help of Angelidis and immediately stumbled back down into the ice, it took two players to get him off the ice and arguably he should he been attended to while down on the ice. Worse yet for the Attack, Liske had taken the instigator minor on the play. During the resulting power play, Craig Voakes pounded a one-time feed from Jakub kindl while at the side of the net to tie the game.
Sometimes for netminders it's the saves that you don't make that you are judged upon at the end of the night. Most of the time that type of thing results in the goat's horns or a crushing defeat in an otherwise strong netminding effort. On this night with the score tied at 2-2, Dan Turple made a quick observation while shorthanded the Rangers had managed to leave one Attack forward all alone at the side of the net, as the pass came through perfectly Turple sent his stick out like a spear knocking the puck away from the Attack sniper and into the corner. At the other end, the Rangers got their chance on the power play and it was David Lomas, who planted his feet firmly in the crease and managed to bang in a rebound. In the dying minutes, Valabik and Angelidis went off of the ice together, ensuring that Angelidis and his 43 goals would not be on the ice to add to those totals, the Attack pulled their netminder early and it was only good fortune that Justin Azevedo's clearing attempt hit the vacated net dead centre. Dan Turple and Michael Ouzas were first and second stars of the game. Victor Oreskovich returned for his first game action since playing immediately after the Christmas break in Owen Sound, he took a huge hit and his shoulder didn't give early, he had an assist on the first Rangers' goal. For the first time in weeks the Rangers dressed 12 forwards, but came up short on the blueline as Julien Machabee was playing for the Dutchmen on this night.