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Third period meltdown leads to shootout win

John Murray watches hopelessly while Jesse Bidukes' shot sails over him tying the shootout at a goal each.

It probably isn't the best way to start a three game in three day weekend, covering each of furthest Eastern cities in the OHL, having a third period meltdown.  But that's what Kitchener did against the Ottawa 67's.  Fortunately they would rectify things in a shootout in order to skirt disaster.  There was a casuality and for once it wasn't a player injury.  Rangers' assistant coach Steve Spott found an early exit after disputing the officiating, the very same officiating that afforded Ottawa 7 consecutive power plays to start the third period in a timespan of under 11 minutes.  Those power plays combined with a gutsy call from veteran bench boss: Brian Kilrea created 5 Ottawa power play goals in the third period to force overtime, a scenario which looked unlikely at best early in the period as the Rangers held a dominant lead.  Call it the backwards year, for the first time in the last decade, the Rangers started their eastern swing in Ottawa, rather than ending it it there.  The Rangers and two bus loads of fans would forge down the 401 East en route to Ottawa, where they would be greeted by the 67's who would see the return of their premier player: Logan Couture to the lineup after missing a month with mono, on the Rangers' side of the ice Mike Duco would be returning to the lineup after missing some substantial time with a shoulder injury suffered early in the Rangers' last victory over the London Knights.

The Rangers came out of the gate with some fire in their eyes, already having won three in a row on the road in Plymouth, Mississauga and most recently in Owen Sound the Rangers started taking it to the 67's early.  They would have to work hard to get on the scoresheet though.  After several big chances, Yves Bastien finally struck with netminder Brady Morrison lying on his back prone for a shot which was sunk past the former Frontenacs goalie to open the scoring very late in the first period, one that saw the Rangers silence the capacity crowd, while registering 15 shots on goal.  In the second period the Rangers took full advantage of having the short change (in Ottawa, the benches are on the same end of the arena and opposite sides, the Rangers' used this to their advantage and completely sufficated the 67's, allowing only 3 shots on goal, though unfortunately one of those shots beat John Murray, former Spitfires' forward, only after the Rangers had made it 3-0 though, and it took a power play for the 67's to break through.  Jakub Kindl's point blast found its way though Morrison early in the second period, and Matt Halischuk scored midway through the period, Halischuk was lying on the ice when he put the puck past Morrison for a goal in his fifth straight game. 

Brady Morrison was dealing with constant congestion of the crease area for most of the game.

After being outshot by a very healthy margin of 30-12 over the first two periods, where the Rangers pounded 15 shots in each of the first two periods, the 67's brought themselves to within a goal very early in the third period on the powerplay.  The Rangers seemed to have sufficated the 67's when first Justin Azevedo scored and minutes later Mike Duco scored taking a feed from Jakub Kindl.  Rangers lead 5-2 and that 3-goal advantage is once again restored, unfortunately it wouldn't last.  Adam Zamec and Jakub Kindl took overlapping penalties and the 67's powerplay got to work, the very same power play that was responsible for all of their scoring to that point of the game.  Just before the first penalty concluded Jamie McGinn scored and 33 seconds later Lahey scored sending the Civic Centre into somewhat of a frenzy with the Ottawa 67's again within a goal, Mike Duco would quickly silence the crowd scoring his 2nd of the game gaining his 5th point on the evening.  Somehow it still wasn't enough for the Rangers to maintain the lead.

Midway through the third period Brian Soso went to the box and was quickly followed by Jakub Kindl, who for ths second time in the period put the Rangers down two men.  Kindl dumped the puck over the glass only 8 seconds after Soso's infraction.  With 8 minutes left and the 67's now down  by a pair, having never led during the course of the game legendary coach Brian Kilrea made a gutsy call.  He pulled the netminder giving the 67's a 6-on-3, and when it first failed he stuck by his plan, and was rewarded when Jesse Biduke scored to bring the 67's back to within one and only moments later, Jamie McGinn scored his second of the night, completing a 4-point game, the Rangers did get a power play of their own but somehow it didn't make up for the 8 power plays the 67's had over the course of the third period and in overtime that eventually got assistant coach Steve Spott ejected with only two seconds left in the second period, the 67's recorded 6 power play goals in all but couldn't notch one in overtime.  The Rangers employed their most deadly weapon: Matt Halischuk, who failed to score, Nick Spaling followed up with a wrister that went in, and Jesse Biduke replied waiting for John Murray to commit before simply dumping the puck over the prone Rangers' netminder.  Victor Oreskovich again gave the Rangers the advantage when his shoestring deke barely slid over the line when it appeared as it the shot was stopped.  Jamie McGinn stepped in, but Murray had the answer, following McGinn over to the far post.  Still, even with the victory, John Murray fought the puck allowing 10 goals over his last two games.