Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

Site searchWeb search

Rangers can't break the 'Gajewski code'

Nick Spaling, Kyle Gajewski
Nick Spaling turns, after seeing his penalty shot glance off of the post in the third period.

It's been a tough code to break, the Gawjewski code.  Infact if there was one netminder who has been guilty of tormenting the Rangers in recent seasons it has been Kyle Gajewski.  Duringt he Rangers' 47 win season in 2005-06, they were defeated in 3 of 4 head-to-head matchups with the Greyhounds, Kyle Gajewski went the distance in all four of those matchups.  When the Rangers finally defeated the Greyhounds by a dominating score of 4-0, it was Kyle Gajewski who was predominantely responsible for the Rangers' score not reaching double-digits, on that evening.  The previous three matchups last season, the Rangers were completely frustrated by the netminder, simply known as "the juice."  Without a doubt on many occasions on this night he was the difference for the Greyhounds between winning and losing, it's not something new to the man who was a rare 18-year-old workhorse last season in the OHL.  Somehow he snuck the Greyhounds into the postseason and it really shouldn't be a surprise that he's been frustrating teams since.  Though, after the Rangers' pre-season, it's no mystery that the team's collective shooting isn't exactly in mid-season form, that was evident from the exhibition schedule in many instances where the opportunities presented themselves but simply weren't capitalized on.

After dominating most of the first period, the Rangers who spent much of that time on the power play finally broke though on a late man advantage, Just Azevedo's point shot seemed to float and deflect as it carried softly into the top of the net to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.  They had a power play immdiately afterwards and a chance to increase that lead, unfortuantely Brandon MacLean's shot from the top of the circle while on a one man rush shorthanded managed to handcuff Mark Packwood giving the Greyhounds a goal to salvage a terrible period with.  Mark Packwood, who unlike Dan Turple debuted with the new legal-sized smaller netminder equipment may have had that to blame for some of his troubles with the shot, his trapper was decreased in size over the off-season.  But the goal seemed to deal a deep blow to the Rangers whom had worked so hard to establish a lead in the season-opener.  While the Rangers were dominant firing 20 first period shots at Gajewski, things did not start off so easily.  Dan Kelly went down after a hard collison behind the Rangers' net on his first shift, he left with a serious concussion, when it appeared that Andrew Desjardines left his feet while zooming behind the net.  Kelly's loss, left the already shortened, and inexperienced Rangers' blueline with only 5 defenders for the remainder of the game.  Jakub Kindl, who has yet to be returned from the pro camps was the most notable absentee.


Kyle Gajewski
Kyle Gajewski and Brad Good watch the puck as it sails over the net.

In the second period the Greyhounds started to pick up the pace a little, and they finally took their first lead of the game with a pair of Rangers in the penalty box.  Scott Timmins was in the penalty box serving a too-many men on the ice infraction for the bench when Dan Gyenes compounded the problem by taking a cross-checking minor of his own.  The Greyhounds managed to get the puck down low where they outmanned the Rangers and Mark Packwood simply did not have a chance on earth to stop former Storm forward Matt Lyall as he had gotten behind him and took a feed from Josh Godfrey to give the Greyhounds their first power play marker.  In the first period the Greyhounds were given a full 2 minute too many advantage but struggled to make their power play look competent before it was reduced to a 4-on-3 when they took a penalty of their own.   Mike Duco, who was origianlly credited with the Rangers' first goal of the night later in the period managed to get some revenge, as he scored much like the Greyhounds did in the first shorthanded.  Duco managed to out-power on his way over the blueline then his wrist shot found it's way past Gajewski from the hash marks tying the game.

The third period seemed ot pivot on one event, the penalty shot.  Nick Spaling was hooked as he was on his way to the Greyhounds' net with some room to spare, after managing a somewhat competent shot, the motion by one of the officials was made towards centre ice for a penalty shot delighting the capacity crowd of 5,862 who had taken in an elaborate lazer light just prior to the beginning of the game.  Nick Spaling had the 'Hounds' red-hot netminder going in the wrong direction when he made his move, but his wrist shot glanced off of the post and the Greyhounds were able to take a deep breath and recover.  Unfortuantely the penalty shot came at a time when the Rangers were playing shorthanded.  With Gyenes in the box, the Greyhounds were able to manufacture a goal.  A Josh Godfrey point shot snuck all of the way through just as Dan Gyenes was emerging from the penalty box.  It was the second former Storm rival to have scored on the Rangers and the Greyhounds made it count as the winner.  The Rangers really didn't press effectively for the tying goal in the final minutes.  Captain Jean-Michel Rizk, who was a huge part of the team's power play in the pre-season sat out with a sore knee.  Steve Tarasuk was the only defender to sit.  Charles Lavigne, generally accepted as the Rangers' 3rd netminder was also scratched from the lineup