As they did last season in a late game collapse, the Rangers suffered a third period meltdown after entering with the tead and coughing up 4 answered goals in the third period. Entering the third period the Rangers had a taste, as brief as it was of what it must have been like to be in first overall in the west for the first time since they laid claim to the Hamilton Spectator Trophy three seasons ago as the OHL's regular seaosn champions. But it was only a taste, a fleeting one at that. Hopefully it's enough to make the Rangers want more, and opportunity knocks, as the Knights play host to the OHL-leading Peterborough Petes in the coming week prior to embarking on their longest road trip of the season. The Rangers on the other hand will finally have time for a couple of solid practices after a marathon of games in the last week prevented the Rangers from working on their skills. That lack of practices showed it's ugly face at the end of the week when the Rangers (the OHL's best defensive club) allowed 10 goals over two home dates and an even less impressive 6 of those goals were on the power play after a string of games where the Rangers only allowed 4 power play goals in 66 opportunities.
Dan Turple who struggle through the game on
Thursday night was clearly not his usual spectacular self, and it never
showed more than when Jordan Foreman's wrist shot handcuffed the big netminder
to start the third period. The shorthanded goal by the Kngihts to
tie the game was only the beginning of a string of 4 unanswered goals,
resulting in a 6-3 victory for the Knights and single-game high of 3 goals
for Jordan Foreman. For Foreman it was sweet redemption after he
took responsibility for a costly overtime penalty taken when he retaliated
on Boris Valabik creating the power play opportunity that resulted in David
Lomas' tip in power play marker with only 10 seconds remaining in overtime,
probably costing the Knights the game. Rangers' netminder: Dan Turple
appeared ripe for the picking considering the fact that he was having trouble
moving laterally going into a potential shootout. Foreman took responsibility
for costing the Knights the game and obviously used that motivation to
have a dominant night in Kitchener. The Rangers' can only hope that
the next "feel good story" about a London Knights' youngster involves them
rescuing a cat that climbed up a tree, rather than acting as the catalyst
for a huge comeback for the rival Knights that cost the Rangers first place
in the Western Conference.
The Knights came out with a plan, that and a chip on their shoulders' the league's top powerplay was a stunning 0-for-22 on the man advantage and with a rookie, untested netminder between the pipes scoring early and often might be a good idea. Only 1:21 into the game, David Bolland blasted a shot from the point that went right through a screen and into the top of the net for an early 1-0 lead on the power play, only minutes later it was Jordan Foreman digging out a rebound directly infront of the Rangers' net and chippping it into the net for a 2-0 lead. It was evident, the league's best power play would not be silenced again. Not on this night. Full credit to the Rangers who didn't exact waste their time in drawing even. On the Rangers first power play opportunity, Matt Lashoff blasted a shot from the center of the blueline directly through an outstretched Mason and the Rangers were on the board. Combined, the two teams had combined for a trio of goals on their first three power play chances of the night. Only 19 seconds later Cory Konecny dug out a rebound and scored his second in two games against the Knights.
The Rangers struggled with special teams but dominated five-one-five through the first two periods. Most of the shots directed at the London net never made it there, including one point blast that struck Matt Pelech in the facial area, fortunately Pelech would return with a full face shield later in the third period. The Knights directive was obvious, to try their hardest to block all shots in order that their netminder would not be tested, Mason did have some adventures but didn't appear out of place. Jakub Kindl scored on a Rangers' power play giving them their first lead of the game in the second period causing the season-high crowd of 6,313 to go wild. The Rangers didn't have fortune on their side during the third period. Jordan Foreman handcuffed Turple shorthanded and then afterward scored on his own rebound after Justin Azevedo's attempt to kick the puck ahead at the point went off of Foreman's shins causing a breakaway for the Knights hardest working player on this night. Foreman's second goal of the game was sandwiched by a pair of power play goals by Bolland and Perry. All six of the Knights' goals were specialty team goals, including 4 power play markers. The Knights now have the opportunity to even the season-series in London on the last day of the regular season.