If there was a lamp with a genie, the single request of most Rangers' fans and perhaps many other hockey fans would have been to have competent officiating. Veterans: Scott Hutchinson and Matt Parlette provided some great officiating through the first 50 minutes prior to starting a penalty-fest late in the game. But appeared to have civil communications with both coaches, and seemed to call a game which didn't aggrevate fans of either team. Rangers' bench boss Peter DeBoer was back behind the Rangers' bench and the scene was set (undoubtably with some assistance by the off ice league officials for a good clean rematch), it's what the fans got on a night where the Storm had a very impressive sellout crowd of 4981 on hand for the rare weekday night game. The Storm had taken each of the last 6 games from the Rangers, after an early season win by the Rangers in Guelph. During those 6 straight wins by the Storm, the Storm managed to sweep the portion of the season-series that took place in Kitchener, something that Rangers' fans if not the entire Rangers' team needed to atone for. In their only victory of the season against the Storm the Rangers had to score a number of unanswered goals to close out the come-from-behind victory. This night was no different.
The Rangers came out skating, little in the
way of excuses left. Sure the team had clinched 3rd a week back.
But with Victor Oreskovich back in the lineup a pretty-much full lineup
up front complimented a blueline that was played shorthanded without the
services of Matt Lashoff who was out sick, and Dan Gyenes who was suspended
in Erie for being a part of a second fight after a whistle and should make
his return to the lineup on Friday night against those very same Otters
that he was suspended for the infraction against. Nick Spaling scored
his 10th of the year, and 2nd goal in the building that his older brother
once called home, it was after a very strong start from the Rangers' where
they skated with dominance and after some hard work, and a couple of rebounds
the Rangers' grind line of Konecny-Spaling-Henderson came through with
a goal. It appeared as if the first goal for the Rangers would lead
the Rangers' to bigger and better things, especially considering the state
of the shot clock which favoured the Rangers heavily as the Storm struggled
going more than 10 minutes without registering a shot after putting a single
on goal in the opening minutes.
The game had a pair of turning points, the first was a case of being rewarded for putting the puck on goal. Former Knights' defender Ryan Potruff blasted a shot from the blueline as a clear-in, that deflected off of the inside of Mark Packwood's pad and into the net through his legs as Packwood stood at the top of his crease trying to cut down the angle. The goal seemed to stagger a Rangers' team that had been frustrated in all of their meetings with the Storm this season. During the Rangers' haze only minutes after the Potruff goal sniper: Ryan Callahan found himself all alone infront of the Rangers' net while the team's were playing 4-on-4 hockey, Callahan snuck behind the entire Rangers' defense and had all of the time in the world to bury the puck, giving the Storm their first lead of the game. Former Greyhound Jason Pitton who came over to the Storm red hot, then opened up a 2-goal Storm lead early in the 2nd period, Mark Packwood struggled with some rebounds and allowed three goals over the timespan of only 4:46. The Rangers' took their time in rebounding. First they had to kill a two-man advantage that threatened to put the game out of reach. When they picked up a power play late in the period Cory Konency showing the most delicate of touch infront of the Storm net and netminder: Ryan MacDonald, tipped Matt Auffrey's high floater into the net. The comeback, aided by physical play and hard work was on!
Only 62 seconds after Konecny's goal, the remainder of his line picked up another marker. Kevin Henderson picked up his career-high 6th of the season and suddenly the Rangers had erased the deficit. Later in the period the Rangers would have their shot while up two-men, Justin Azevedo and the crew wouldn't need much time as the dimunitive forward (named the game's second start) scored 46 seconds in. The Rangers appeared to nurse their lead through many abbreviated penalty kills in the third, but when the opportunity knocked, they answered. Victor Oreskovich, went pointless on the night (having had one assist removed) provided a perfect screen on a late third period power play and lifted his foot at the precise moment that Jakub Kindl's point shot went through and beat netminder Ryan MacDonald. Michael Pelech combined with Mike Duco on a pretty-looking two-one-one only one minute later to put the game away with the Rangers' 5th unanswered goal. Ryan MacDonald established a Guelph Storm franchise record for wins by a netminder in Kitchener, he has started in all 8 games against the Rangers this season. The Rangers' power play was 3 for 7, while the penalty kill did not allow a goal in 11 opportunities. The Storm were hurt by a 10-minute misconduct to their second-leading scorer: Matt D'Agostini while the score was 4-3 only seconds past the midway point of the third period.