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Rangers look good in 4-2 loss to London Knights

The Kitchener Rangers and London Knights line up for a ceremonial faceoff, and Remembrance Day ceremoneies.

Not only did the Rangers' effort look good in a 4-2 loss to the London Knights, but so did their jerseys.  After sporting one-time only wear jerseys in a victory over the Owen Sound Attack last season, and seeing the success and interest in the jerseys.  Again, this season, the Rangers went with an extremely unique design that again would be a one-off.  As was the case last year, the Rangers would quite litterally auction the jerseys right off of the players' backs during the intermissions with the bidding closing at the end of the second intermission.  In a show of good-will the monies raised byt he Rangers and their jersey sales will go to the 78th Fraser Highlanders Fort Conestoga Garrison and the Royal.  Certainly a good cause and certainly a quality effort into yet another totally unique design.  This time around the jerseys were created in the likeness of the 1936 Kitchener Greenshirts.  Different, that was for sure, and very sharp looking as well.  The Knights whom have been a perennial powerhouse in the league over the last couple of seasons are always a great measuring stick for the Rangers, or any ohter team, and in two games, a shootout loss in London and a 4-1 home ice victory in Kitchener, the Rangers have proven that they are capable of giving London all they can handle thus far.

One of the storylines in the 4-1 loss that the London Knights absorbed earlier in the season in Kitchener was the play of super-rookie Sam Gagner, for the first and still only game this season where he has played, he was held off of the scoresheet, snapping an incredible rookie streak where he notched 33 points in only 11 games, scoring at a clip of exactly three points per game through that stretch.  Gagner's being held pointless wasn't the only story of note, there was also Matt Halischuk's domination of a very dominant nteminder in his own right, Steve Mason who's been responsible for thwarting the chances of many great opponents.  Problem is that the Knights have struggled lately and this Knights' has a bad habit with adversity - the team seems to thrive on it.  During last spring's playoffs, star centre David Bolland was suspended and the Knights who were tied in their series with the Attack, like Kitchener seemed to be in over their heads, but they responded by knocking the Attack out of the post-season with 3 straight victories, it wasn't easy but London did it.  This weekend they faced the prospect of three games in three days against two very hot Midwestern opponents in the Kitchener Rangers and the Guelph Storm whom London plays a home-at-home with after they finish with the Rangers. 

Steve Mason, Jean-Michel Rizk and Scott Aarssen watch the puck sail over the goal.

The Rangers started similar to the way they did during their last mid-week start against the London Knights, both teams were a little unsure, and spent much of the first 10 minutes feeling each other out.  London again opened up the scoring and it was Sam Gagner getting ont he board early, taking a tremendous pass from Pat Kane, Gagner was right back on the scoresheet where he feels that he belongs.  Only twenty seconds later Pat Kane was still on the ice and he beat John Murray giving the Knights a 2-0 lead, one that they would never relinquish despite some big pressure by the Rangers late in the game.  It was the third straight time that the visiting team had scored twice in the Rangers-Knights' season-series.  To compound problems the Rangers also took a couple of minors putting the team in danger of falling down 3-0 to the deadly London powerplay.  The Rangers managed to hold the Knights and their well-publicized power play off, and late in the second period Matt Halischuk found the back of the London net late in the second period.  This coming after a penalty shot to Kevin Henderson, where Henderson failed to find the net.  A scary collision between Kevin Henderson and Todd Perry knee-on-knee led to Perry's ejection from the game.  During that 5-minute match penalty Jakub Kindl took a high-sticking minor to even things up, and it was during that 4-on-4 that Halishuk would score.  Kevin Henderson would return later in the game, but didn't seem to have the same up and go that we're all familiar with.

Late goals kill you, and Sergei Kostitsyn walked in from the point blasting a shot through Murray as lazer-like speed, the man-advantage was 4-on-3 with several players in the box, and unfortuantely for the Rangers occured with only 3.3 seconds left in the period restoring the Knights' 2-goal lead.  The Rangers didn't seem overly phased by the late power play marker in the third period.  They pushed, but struggled mightily on the power play, at the end of the night they were 0-for-8.  During a delayed penalty, Robert Bortuzzo, the impressive off-season rookie acquisition from the Windsor Spitfires netted his first career OHL goal, and what a huge goal with the sixth attacker on the ice, his screened point shot sailed through Mason, and suddenly to the delight of the massive crowd of 6,339 the Rangers were back to within one.  The goal seemed to only strengthen the Rangers resolve, as their forecheck intensified and at some points they quite litterally heemed London into their own end of the ice.  In all they outshot the Knights' 21-4 in a wild finish to the third period, where hope would end as Pat Kane would fill the empty net for his 2nd of the game and 13th of the season with only 5 seconds left.  In the three games this season, the Rangers have fired 138 shots on goal at the London Knights in only three games, plus one overtime session.  Mike Duco and Jordan Foreman where the two key scratches due to injury for the respective teams.