Sure the Rangers' finished with a pair of victories to end their last weekend, but their victory in Ottawa may have been on the back of their starting netminder. Whereas this weekend the Rangers' seemed to only get stronger as the weekend went on instead of slowng down. There were some concerns that neither the Rangers, nor the Attack, both of which went all out in Owen Sound would have anything left in the tank for Sunday matinee performances. As it turned out the concerns about the Attack were justified, as they fell by a 5-1 score in Guelph, the Rangers on the other hand completed a three-game weekend sweep with a solid 5-1 victory over the Toronto Majors giving the Rangers 5 straight victories after the team had lost three consecutive games, a streak that ended last weekend in Belleville, goals against would appear to be the Rangers' ralley cry as the team in those five straight wins has allowed a mind-boggling 6 goals against, but unfortunately while the wins add up, Dan Turple is still patiently awaiting his 6th shutout of the season. His goals against average dipped to 2.25 after Sunday afternoon's game in Toronto.
The game started with a quick pace, but it
was obvious that the Rangers, despite the absence of cornerstone defender:
Boris Valabik who was suspended as part of an altercation in Owen Sound.
This matchup would have a similar altercation. In both games, young
forward Yves Bastien was caught at centre ice with his head down and leveled
by big defenders waiting in his path. In Owen Sound it was Theo Peckham,
in this matchup it was Ryan Wilson that connected with Bastien at center
ice and a much smaller forward, Mike Duco who came to the rescue battling
with the veteran defender, taking an instigator in the process. Wilson
was ejected with a charging major, and during the same stoppage, Andrew
Shennan battled with Jean-Michel Rizk. Rizk was a reluctant combatant
having already been injured in Sault Ste. Marie during a fight with Shennan.
Cory Konecny and Michael Haley also had a bout immediately afterwards as
Konecny crashed the net and got his stick up, the smaller Haley handled
himself quite well.
After winning a pair of games on the strength of their netminding, with the confidence that they'd picked up their offense started to pick it up. A few lucky bounces wouldn't hurt either. Early in the first period the Rangers took to the power play and Jakub Kindl's point shot went wide but bounced squarely off of the boards and kicked into off the back of Wayne Savage's pads and into the net behind him. Moments later Savage stacked the pads on Auffrey, and frustrated the red hot Rangers' sniper throughout. Early in the second period with an abreviated 5-on-3 power play, Jakub Kindl found Evan McGrath with a backdoor pass allowing the Rangers' 100-point man to score a big one for the Rangers, opening up a 2-0 lead. The Rangers would pressure the Majors from there, Konecny nearly added another, and immediately would have to answer to Michael Haley who had stalked him around the ice all shift long. Jean-Michel Rizk then gave a gift to tough luck scorer: Kevin Henderson, the two stormed up the ice on an odd man rush and Rizk unleashed one of his now infamous hard knucklers, Savage got a piece but left a rebound right on the doorstep for Kevin to put into the empty cage.
With the score 3-0 and Turple as well as the Rangers' nursing a shutout, the Rangers' permitted a cross-crease pass that led to a spectacular toe stop by Turple. Late in the period, the Rangers would find themselves playing 4-on-4, and much like in Owen Sound when Theo Peckham scored they were burned by a Majors' defender who's shot illuded Turple, as Spade stepped into the faceoff circle and simply threw a snap shot at the net. It was only Spade's 2nd goal of the season. Spade, a former Colt, followed his coach Bud Stefanski to Toronto. Myles Applebaum, who's finally healthy after a season filled with injuries, scored his second goal in 3 games, really put things away mid way though the third period when he amongst other Rangers dug the puck out of Savage's equipmnt to score an ugly goal. A couple of minutes later Lomas would convert a splendid looking pass from Jean-Michel Rizk, to make the final 5-1 Kitchener. The win gave the Rangers a 9-1 record against Central division foes, with the only blemish earlier in the season to the very same Majors. The win also marked the 18th team that the Rangers had defeated during this OHL season, the Rangers have never defeated 19 teams, and will have their chance to do just that in March against the Greyhounds.