Good things happen to those who wait. Evan McGrath was left waiting, but not for long. The fourth year veteran center was on the verge of a breakthrough, not only a personal breakthrough but one for the team as well. Since 1993-'94 when Trevor Gallant tallied an astonishing 119 points, no Ranger has hit the century mark in points. Evan McGrath tried to jump the gun midway through the first period when the puck deflected in off of his foot and immediately was waved off. In the second period he'd be rewarded with a standing ovation for tallying one that counted, it wasn't the prettiest goal, but they all count. McGrath picked up a Matt Auffrey rebound and wrapped the puck past Battachio from behind the net for the eventual game winner prompting a standing ovation and even more cheers when the announcement was made that Evan McGrath did indeed have 100th point of the year. The goal's importance couldn't be understated, after the Rangers had dominated the first period only to emerge with a one goal lead, the Ottawa 67's tied the game early in the second period. McGrath's goal came only 68 seconds later, establishing a lead that Kitchener would not relinquish and perhaps taking the wind out the sails of the 67's who had struggled in a pair of games against the big Rangers' netminder.
McGrath's goal though not overly thrilling
to watch was a testiment to both his quick feet and soft hands as he curled
the puck around from behind the net, into the vacated side of the goal
very quickly. Something that has plagued some former Rangers' stars
of recent years such as Derek Roy and Michael Richards is their missing
games due to either injury and time spent at the World Junior Championships.
While it's been disappointing that the Rangers' star center wasn't selected
to Canada's junior hockey team, it's only a testiment to McGrath's conditioning
and will power that he has been constantly in the Rangers' lineup, proving
that durability and finesse can be packaged together, apparently with 100+
points on the season as well. One of the biggest reasons for McGrath's
scoring explosion this season (he is poised to lead the team for the second
straight season in scoring), is his truely remarkable start where he was
player of the week and was easily the most valuable Ranger during the month
With the way the game started, you'd think that the Ottawa 67's were the team with the larger-than-life netminder. Not in the shadow that Danny Battochio's 5'10" body cast over the Ottawa crease, but in where and how the Rangers' were shooting. The hometown Rangers who were wearing their third jerseys elected to try and victimize the star netminder over the shoulders with high shots. Unfortunately during the first period where the Rangers dominated at times with a 16-9 shoots on goal advantage, the Rangers almost left the period without being rewarded with a single goal, one of the biggest problems was their shooting constantly missing the top corners of the net, hardly impressively as many of those shots were from great shooting angles and others from point blank range also missed the net. The Rangers' only goal of the period was more of a flukey looking shot, while shorthanded Matt Pepe made a point shoot while attempting to kill some time in the Ottawa zone. Myles Applebaum happened to be in the neighbourhood and tipped the shot past Battochio to open the scoring 18 minutes into the period.
The 67's appeared to pick up the pace in the second period, the only period where they outshot the Rangers, coincidentally also the only period where they were not outscored by Kitchener. The 67's failed in 21 opportunities to score on the Rangers while on the power play but their only tally of the game was as a direct result of a man power advantage. Dan Turple seemed preoccupied with Matt Lahey infront of the net and only 2 seconds after their bench minor expired for too many men on the ice expired, Lahey managed to tip a weak shot through Turple's pads. Turple would have another extremely strong effort for the Rangers on the over all. Turple was named first star for the third straight game only allowing the one goal. Early in the third period, Michael Pelech got his 3rd goal of the season when Cory Konecny found him from behind the net. Battochio was couldn't be faulted for any of the Rangers' goals and was named 2nd star .