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Turple to the rescue in Ottawa 
 


Logan Couture works on untying Justin Azevedo's sweater.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com


Now the 67's know what it's like to be Turpled.  First, it was Jordan Foreman who redeemed himself in Kitchener after a costly penalty in overtime in London that eventually would cost the Knights the game on Rogers Sportsnet.  On this afternoon, it was the Rangers' big netminder.  He allowed 6 goals, a high for 2006 in the Rangers' matchup against the Knights including 4 on the power play, but on this chilly afternoon in Ottawa allowed none.  It wasn't that the 67's didn't have their chances, they had 13 opportunities including several two man advantages, but the Rangers' biggest penalty killer struck it big in goal for the Rangers, aided by his best buddies the two posts which seemed more than content to deflect shots away from the net, rather than into it.  For the second time in less than 24 hours Dan Turple only allowed one puck to cross the goal line and as a result for the second time in less than twenty-four hours Dan Turple was named first star.  In Belleville anyone could have been named first star that was wearing a Rangers' jersey on Sunday it was very obvious that there was only one conceivable choice for the honour.  Turple was big no question about it, and the Rangers' defensive game, compared to the two nights before it, seemed a little tired and as a result as a team they found their way to the penalty box quite frequently.

Backed by a sell-out crowd, and after a blow-out win over the IceDogs, the 67's seemed to hold the advantage on the way in.  They also took it to the Rangers' early and often.  In the first half of the opening period, the best chance that the Rangers had was when Kevin Henderson fired himself into the net at full speed, in what turned into a spectacular show of atheletic agility leaped high into the air and over the Kitchener forechecking expert.  Logan Couture, who was the highest rated 1989 birth going into the OHL draft was the dominant force in this effort by the Ottawa 67's.  Couture had the chances, but didn't get the bounces nor fortunes when he ran into the OHL's biggest netminder who seemed to get progressively faster and faster as the weekend continued.  Matt Auffrey broke the deadlock while the Rangers were enjoying a two-man advantage late in the first period.  Shortly before Auffrey scored, Evan McGrath rang the puck off of the crossbar, and then proceeded to get the puck back shortly after, when he found Auffrey with a backdoor pass to an easy tip in at the side of the 67's net.
 
 


Lomas and McGrath work on some insurance in the third.
Picture Courtesy of: OHLPhotos.com

The 67's drew even early in the second period, not even a minute in.  Boris Valabik got caught up ice and quickly a two-on-one developed on the transition game, young Jamie McGinn kept and shot, Turple made the stop, but McGinn continued into the zone and chipped his own rebound past Battachio.  For McGinn it was his 4th goal in only two games on the weekend.  After killing off four consecutive minors, including three early in the second period, the Rangers got their chance to take the lead again, with another 2-man advantage.  They didn't have much time on the two-man advantage, and they didn't need much either.  Auffrey took the feed from the Azevedo on the point and wristed the shot through Battachio, for Auffrey it was his third power play goal in only two games.  He accounted for all of the Rangers' power play production on the weekend.  Still more impressive was the penalty kill for the Rangers that went 23 for 23 on the tough eastern Ontario swing, and a defense that only allowed 4 goals in 3 games.

The Rangers would press for some insurance in the third period, Evan McGrath would be thwarted when he tried to deke on a partial break and soon after David Lomas would be stopped from point blank range infront of the Ottawa net.  Aside from the infractions that the Rangers seemed to be taking continuously throughout the game, the biggest blow to the Rangers' defensive abilities occured during the third period when Boris Valabik took a diving call after the play, Brett Liscomb accompanied Valabik to the box, but with the extra ten minutes Valabik would not be seen from again during this matchup.  The Rangers were on a power play late in the third where they failed to score.  With only 27 seconds left, Jean-Michel Rizk fed the empty net to clinch the victory for the Rangers.  Battachio who was dominant in the 67's victory over the Rangers at the same time in Ottawa last season, much like Turple also had a very strong effort.  The two assists left McGrath just a point shy of the 100-point plateau, a level that has not been reached since Trevor Gallant had 119 points in 1993-'94.