It's one of those inexplicable things, the Rangers and Battalion have been playing home-at-home series' in the exhibition schedule and the two teams always find a way to get in on a split. Though unlike this Sunday's game in Kitchener, the Rangers kept fans in doubt until the final seconds as to whom the winner would be. The Rangers would be the benefactors of 59 solid minutes of hockey by netminder John Murray, but their discipline or lack thereof would be their undoing in the end. The Rangers surrendered 17 power plays in all and while they were only scored only 3 times, the penalty kills took their toll on the team and inhibited their abilities to find the back of the net themselves. Much like the case was in the previous season, the officials were calling all fouls regardless of the situation, resulting in far too many instances where the Rangers' found themselves down two men. Dan Gyenes who's swollen cheek was back down to normal proportions after getting hit by a puck in Saturday's scrimmages, led the pack with five minors resulting in a total of 10 minutes in penalties.
Somehow the Rangers' troubles with
didn't exactly sink the ship. The Rangers scored three power play
goals of their own for a total of 8 goals against on the man-advantage
during the two game set. The Rangers took a two goal lead in the
first period on goals by Rizk and Spaling, each of those coming on the
power play. Rookie Patrick Killeen was seeing action in the
goal for the second straight game, he was relieved in the third period
by 19-year-old Aaron Rock. The change in netminders was not for a
lack of effectiveness by Killeen, during the second period he came
with a couple of crowd pleasing saves, diving across the crease to rob
Kitchener Rangers who seemed to seemed to look flustred after the
reeled off 3 straight goals to take a 4-2 lead after the Rangers had
an early 2-1 lead.
Most impressive for the Rangers was their persistence on the penalty kill. Far too often they found themselves down two men, and only once they were scored on during the first period, and in at least three two-man advantages since then and the Rangers' along with their 19-year-old netminder closed the door each time. With the Battalion up 4-2 in the third period, Nick Spaling scored to on the man advantage to bring the Rangers back to within one goal. Corey George struck on the power play to restore the Battalion's 2-goal lead and with under two minutes left and a penalty assessed to the Rangers, the game appeared to be a lost cause, but while shorthanded and netminder John Murray on the bench Jean-Michel Rizk scored his second goal of the game, this one coming while shorthanded to bring the Rangers to within a goal with just under 20 seconds on the clock. They would fail to knot the score, but manage to put a good scare into the Battalion, something that Brampton was unable to accomplish late in Kitchener.
Nazem Kadri, who had a pair of goals in the opener, was held off of the scoresheet, but the 16-year-old rookie showed another dimension to his game. Kadri, who is though of as smaller on the size scale, didn't seem to be at all interested in playing that way. Whenever possible the Rangers' 1st round pick was taking the opportunity to lay the body on unsuspecting Battalion players. The Rangers went without veterans: Justin Azevedo, Matt Auffrey, and Matt Thomson, import rookie defender: Yannick Weber also sat along with netminder: Charles Lavigne. The Rangers went with seven defenders adding veterans: Dan Gyenes and Jakub Kindl - who primarily saw power play time as they had seven defenders dressed. Rizk and Spaling each had a pair of the Rangers 4 goals, Spaling had points in each of the first three Rangers goals (all recorded on the power play), overall the Rangers were 3-for-9 with the man advantage. The Battalion outshot the Rangers 29-28 over three periods. The Rangers' next exhibition action is Thursday night in Barrie.