Suddenly the third in three isn't so much of a problem for the Rangers whom have gone on a roll of late. Though down the stretch run it was very evident that the team appeared to be running on fumes. A penalty-filled affair didn't help either as the same suspects constantly found themselves on the ice. The Rangers whom had created the foundation for a strong weekend on Friday and Saturday were tiring. It's something that revealed itself early in the game when they were being outskated, it's something that revealled itself late in the game when the Rangers got tired, and behind them netminder made it appear as if the team only bent but didn't break. Simply put Murray despite giving up more goals than his last 3 games combined was sensational at times, and easily the difference between winning and losing for the Rangers. Somehow after his efforts, he wasn't acknowledged with a 3 star nomination, clearly an oversight by those responsible for selecting those three stars, a sour note an on otherwise, ultra-productive weekend for the red, white & blue.
After a very slow start, things got a quick
jump-start when Justin Azevedo found Matt Halischuk at full stride wandering
over the IceDogs' blueline, he hit Halischuk on the way to the net, and
suddenly the Rangers' explosive speed up front had struck again opening
the scoring shorthanded. Halischuk simply, but perfectly re-directed
the puck past Andrew Loverock giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead just before
the midway point of the first period. Andrew Loverock got the start
because of chest pains that have kept Lucas Lobsinger out of the lineup.
Loverock became the 9th Mississauga netminder to fall against the Rangers
in Mississauga as the Rangers have defeated the IceDogs in each and every
one of the visits that they've made to the Hershey Centre while their record,
while dominant on home ice in team history against the IceDogs is not untainted.
Minutes after Halischuk's 15th goal in only his 16th game, the Rangers'
found themselves on the power play, and Jakub Kindl was the marksman placing
a perfect shot through Loverock.
In the second period the Rangers continued to build on their great start, Yves Bastien found Nick Spaling infront and suddenly the Rangers had taken a commanding 3-0 lead. With fatigue around the corner - they'd need it! For both Bastien and Soso, the goal contributed to goal and for each of the Rangers' third liners it was the third straight game where they recorded points. Just when the Rangers had a chance to add to the lead just over a minute later with Michael Swift in the box, speedster Jordan Owens broke into the zone shorthanded being fed by Frankie Santiti, he put the perfect shot past Murray. The Rangers surprisingly, were a little undaunted, they picked up another power play moments later and simply restored their two goal lead. The goal enabled Kevin Henderson to eclipse last season's total of 6 goals, a career high, it only took Henderson 11 games to score his 7 goals this season - look out Matt Halischuk, someone's in hot pursuit for the team's goal scoring lead. One of the more comical events of the game happened mid-way through the second period. With Oscar Osala already in the box, Travis Fuller first grabbed ahold of Matt Pepe's stick with the puck just outside of the Mississauga blue line and then when Terry Hobor was passionate enough to avoid calling that infraction, Fuller picked up the puck and threw it out of the zone drawing an infraction for closing his name on the puck. Though this was not the most intelligent play for the former Colts forward, he did have a very strong effort through sixty minutes including a trio of assists, factoring in on each of the IceDogs 3 goals on the afternoon.
Usually when teams tire, the penalties start rolling in, but for the Rangers this season it's a little odd, the errors that seem to be made are mental, not physical. Which is a little odd compared to what most of us are familiar with, but the Rangers' were guilty of a few giveaways that could be referred to as "monumental" such as passes up the middle and giveaways. Fortuantely for the Rangers' they have the hottest netminder in the league to fall back on, and in this third period they'd need him. Stefan Legein had already scored in the second period to bring the IceDogs back to within a pair on the powerplay. Early in the third period Legein struck again, and after a very strong second period, the Rangers allowed him to score again in the third and suddenly the IceDogs were looking more promising than at any time in the game. Despite a lack of shots when the IceDogs did send the disc flying at the goal Murray was spectacular in making the stops including a break and several IceDogs who didn't have breakaways, but did have all of the time in the world alone infront of the net. Late in regulation, Victor Oreskovich took a slashing minor, effectively putting the Rangers down a man through the duration, or until the IceDogs proved capable of scoring to tie the game. Kevin Henderson compounded problems when he was called for hooking while forechecking giving the IceDogs a 6-on-3 man advantage once they pulled netminder Loverock. Several decent chances, but they were officially deflated after Jadran Beljo was whistled down in the neutral zone with the minimal time remaining. Rangers win their 5th straight by a 4-3 score.