You'd think that with the season that former Rangers' netminder of the future Carlo DiRienzo has been having, that this might have been his last visit the Memorial Auditorium in Kitchener without buying a ticket. After all he was cut after camp by the last-place Oshawa Generals. However, if he continues to play as he did in the Generals' home-at-home series with the Rangers, there's no doubt that he will resurface for a chance at another visit to Kitchener. And if it's not with the Generals, some team will desire his services, that is if he continues to play the way he has in showcasing his abilities to the team that once discarded him. Perhaps discarded isn't the right word, the Rangers received the OHL's biggest netminder, a guy named Turple who currently owns the OHL's smallest goals against average. With an astonishing amount of netminder grads going into this off-season, DiRienzo has more than a fighting chance at playing a 5th OHL while attempting to fight for a pro contract. Last season, the Generals simply abandoned Carlo and the frustrated netminder allowed 8 goals in his visit to Kitchener. The Generals, despite their 20th overall standing came out of the gate showing pride and as a result got the jump on the Rangers.
The Rangers showed up on the ice clearly with
something else on their minds. Perhaps it was their huge head-to-head
matchup with London only two nights later at the JLC, whatever it was the
Rangers showed up flat. They caught a huge break minutes in when
former Otter: Brett MacLean drifted a shot just wide with open net as he
rounded the net. The Rangers wouldn't be so fortunate later on in
the period. With lots of traffic infront Peter Tsimikalis snapped
a shot under Packwood's arm, suddenly the Generals had that illusive lead
that they so desperately seeked on home ice against the Rangers.
A defensive breakdown allowed Cal Clutterbuck to blast a one-timer through
Packwood for a 2-0 lead. Mark Packwood did stop Tavares on a shorthanded
break, but it was obvious it was time for a change when Brett MacLean put
a weak wrister right through Packwood giving the Generals a commanding
3-0 lead. The good news only got worse when Boris Valabik was slammed
into the boards from behind and appeared to injure his arm on the way in.
But in the final minute of the period Matt Auffrey made a very slick move
to get his stick on a puck immediately infront of the net salvaging a single
goal for the Rangers while on the power play created by Valabik's injury.
Predictably Dan Turple came in, in relief during the third period. It was intended to be a game off for the Rangers go-to netminder. Despite the fact that the Generals sit dead last in the 20-team OHL, their offense is nearly as potent as that of the Rangers. Dan Turple didn't receive a star in either of the games against the Generals but really should be commended for only allowing one goal against them in 5 full periods of play, that and at times while he was not busy maintaining his focus on the task at hand. DiRienzo was putting a show at the other end of the ice. The tide was turning, but the goal light behind DiRienzo at the North End of the Memorial Auditorium remained stationary. Though the goal judge couldn't have been blamed if he did flash the light a few times by accident. The Rangers spent the better part of the period blasting shots of the posts, as the fans ooo'd and ahhh'd disappointed that the Rangers just weren't getting any breaks, and those that they were getting or even making were being taken away by their former netminder. DiRienzo made sure that his play would allow him to leave Kitchener with his head held high, at one time during the third period he acknowledged fans who attempted to taunt him by channting his name. After a game filled with chances Craig Voakes finally put a one-timer past DiRienzo bringing the Rangers to within one goal. Matt Auffrey struck on another broken play finally bringing the Rangers even with the Generals in a period where they outshot the Generals 17-8.
With the game tied the Generals (not their netminder) seemed a little deflated. The Rangers operated as if they were in a shooting gallery, and DiRienzo was the target at times they pounded the puck off the boards, but were relentless on rebounds. It didn't take much time before there were 6 skaters clustered infront of DiRienzo many of them doing just as much block shots as they were doing to screen the netminder. In two seperate incidences the Rangers scored just after whistles, but clearly after. Evan McGrath scored on the power play as the Rangers finally took the lead. Boris Valabik had his clearing attempt just drift wide of the Generals' net. Jean-Michel Rizk decided to kill time behind the goal finally passing it out to Azevedo infront who made little mistake. The Rangers poured 21 shots on the Generals' net, despite a pair of two-man advantages for the Generals. Both coming after the Rangers had taken the lead, but the Rangers' penalty kill anchored by big defender: Boris Valabik was strong, infact perfect on this night. The Rangers have allowed a total of 4 power play goals in their last nine games (66 times shorthanded). The two points keep the Rangers' within striking distance of the Knights whom they faceoff against on Thursday night for first place in the division.