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Redemption for Lavigne

Rizk tips the puck past Perugini
Jean-Michel Rizk gives the Rangers the lead with his 3rd power play goal of the pre-season in the first period.

A week ago it was the worst possible scenario for the Rangers' netminder who is universally ranked #3 on the Rangers' depth chart.  This week, it was probably the best possible scenario as Charles Lavigne, didn't just bounce back, but he did it against the very same Colts that victimized him for 5 unanswered third period goals en route to a 5-3 come-from-behind victory.  Things do change in a week's time and with his one goal against effort on home ice Lavigne firmly asserted his name back into the running for one of the two spots that the Rangers have guarding the net.  While Charles wasn't abandoned by his defense on this night as he was on that seemingly fateful night in Barrie, but the fact remained that those who stood between him and a somewhat lacklusture version of the Colts' offense, were missing the best or most experienced two Rangers' blueliners and Matt Pepe and Jakub Kindl.  At times Lavigne made his own breaks, he's a gambling netminder, who in many ways is reminiscent of former Colts netminder: Francois Thuot who concluded his OHL career in Saginaw last season.  Lavigne is capable of creating trouble for himself when it shouldn't be there, and he's capable of getting himself out of trouble when he shouldn't be able to.

It didn't start all rosy for the Rangers in the first period, Kris Sparre quickly found himself with the puck in the Rangers' crease staring at an empty cage, he didn't waste any time burying the puck past Lavigne who was pretty much abandoned on the play.  After scoring five straight to end their previous matchup the Colts had struck early in this one.  The Rangers really didn't waste their time replying though.  Rookie Scott Timmins drove towards the net and was taken down by a Colts defender, on his knees he continued to control the puck with the official's arm up signalling a penalty several seconds later with a 6th attacker on the ice for the Rangers, the puck found it's way back to Yannick Weber, who's point shot eventually found it's way onto the stick of Myles Applebaum who knotted the score at one.  It was another excellent point shot from an up-and-coming defender who's prowess at the point could quickly take the OHL by storm.

The Eventual winner, an early one at that would be scored by acting captain Jean-Michel Rizk while on a two man advantage.  Joined up front by newcomer: Brian Soso on the two man advantage the big Rangers' forwards both went to the net and it was Rizk's stick that tipped Dan Kelly's point shot through Colts' sophomore netminder: Andrew Perugini creating a 2-1 Rangers' lead that would hold through two more periods for the win.  For the first time thus far in the Rangers' exhibition schedule, both netminders went the distance.  For Lavigne it was his first complete game for the Rangers and for Perugini it was another trial it what might be a trying season for the Colts with a pair of 17-year-old sophomore's in goal this season with the expected loss of Dan LaCosta through graduation.  The Colts just recently acquired Jake Fischer from the Windsor Spitfires, he was dressed but did not see the ice in this matchup.

Brian Soso lines up for the faceoff
Newest Ranger: Brian Soso intently lines up for a faceoff, his size is evident ever time he steps onto the ice.

The quartet of rookie defenders, though obviously lacking in experience continued to impress in this matchup.  Rookie defenders account for 4 of the top 5 first-year scorers, including Dan Kelly, who's 5 points in 4 games ties him for the team's overall lead.  The quickly developing rookie's probably were responsible for the departure of Matt Thomson - the team's only Kitchener-area product, Thomson was reassigned to a Tier II club.  Thomson played as a winger in his last exhibition game with the team in Barrie, it is likely that his skills became somewhat redundant when Kelan Herr also appeared in the Rangers' lineup playing on the wing.  Kelan Herr, who came up through the Knights' organization as a defender is a full year younger than Thomson.  Kelan Herr appeared to be much more under control than he was in Barrie, he was still out on the ice throwing his weight around but avoided the penalty box altogether after taking 11 minutes in penalties before being ejected last time out.

Brian Soso predictably was all over the ice causing chaos and invoking fear in some of the many opponents' that he simply towers over.  The game really lost it's flow in the third period where only near misses on the Colts empty net, including one in the final second which hit the outside of the post were the only events that really got a reaction out of the paid crowd of 4,606.  The emotional climax of the game occured when Brett Eagleson fell on top of the puck, and immediately after the whistle was blown had Matthew Bragg's stick come into contact with his face, which nearly led to some chaos.  Rangers' first rounder: Nazem Kadri was first on the scene, Dan Gyenes was being restrained as he attempted to join the fray.

One of the more impressive youngsters was Mike Mascioli, who's speed if nothing else seems to say that he might belong in the OHL this season.  He's been one of those players who appears extremely hungry for the puck.  Myles Applebaum looked very sharp in his first exhibition action.  The story of the night was Charles Lavigne, the one thing that's been obvious since the 2005 training camp is both his will-power and speed around the crease, aside from some of the more acrobatic stops that he made while in and around the blue ice.  In the second period Lavigne came flying out of the crease and with a diving poke check managed to thwart what would have been a surefire breakaway opportunity.