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Snow fails to stop hot Rangers' team


Victor Oreskovich skates to the net as a point shot sails high and wide of the goal.


Snow, as in the weather elements haven't stopped the Rangers' this season yet, infact they haven't even impeded the progress of the team at any point (knock on wood), but injecting a star player into any lineup, usually gives any team a huge left at any point of the season.  The Bulls, the leaders of the weak Eastern division, picked up a very talented sniper from the Brampton Battalion, as the two Eastern Conference teams swapped malcontents, John Hughes a former first overall pick heading in the direction of the Battalion.  Snow's emergence on the Bulls roster wasn't enough against the Rangers who for the second straight time in two visits to the Yardmen Arena quite litterally bored the fans to tears at points, controlling the game and limiting the offensive chances of the Bulls to an absolute minimum.  Again, there was a huge pressence of Rangers' fans along the side with the Kitchener Rangers' bench, this year two enthusiastic bus loaded rather than the trio of coaches that made their way down to Belleville, but sufficient to create atmosphere.

The Rangers despite their very lackluster finish in Ottawa, did not seem to have a hangover in Belleville, and got out of the gates quickly.  They found themselves on the power play only two minutes into the game.  Yannick Weber found the centre of the point and blasted the puck right through everyone enabling the Rangers to get any early 1-0 advantage over the Belleville Bulls.  It was nothing short of a breath of fresh air after the Rangers had allowed 6 power play goals in Ottawa while being incapable of scoring any of their own in a 7-6 shootout win over the 67's.  The line of Matt Halischuk, Justin Azevedo and Mike Duco were flying out there most of the game.  They didn't put up some of the huge numbers that each of them had in the nation's capital only one night earlier, but they did exploit the big ice in Belleville with it's olympic-sized proportions.  They had several chances to increase that lead, but each time star netminder Kevin Lalande was there to answer the bell.  Lalande stole a victory in Kitchener last season, but injured himself midway through the season, and the Rangers managed to avoid a return matchup in Belleville, Sebastien Dahm picked up that start against the Rangers. 


Yannick Weber heads to the net, he had a pair of goals, but only retained credit for one of them, still good for first star honours.

In the second period, the Rangers using the short change piled it on the Bulls, but the results weren't quick to come.  The Rangers had 4 of the 5 power plays that were provided by officiating in the second period and as a result held a huge zone advantage and also compiled a 19-8 advantage on the shotclock, their most dominant period wouldn't result in an increase to their lead however.  Just over halfway through the period the Bulls promising sophomore: Bryan Cameron scored on the power play evening the score at a goal each, Mark Packwood who was having a very strong game, had no chance after Cameron was set up by Tyler Donati.  Later in the period, it would be the Rangers on the power play again, Yannick Weber again with an excellent point shot that found its way through everyone, and the Rangers were back in the lead.  The goal was changed to Matt Halischuk during the intermission, but Halischuk did dispute that he did not touch the puck on its way into the net.  The credited goal which stayed with Halischuk did help him increase his scoring streak to 6 straight games, and 19th on the season.

In the third period the Bulls had their chances, the biggest coming on three straight power plays, the Rangers as they did in Ottawa one night earlier seemed to struggle with the officiating in the final frame, with three penalties against and none for the Bulls.  Still it was a very competent period, unlike the one that the Rangers had experienced in Ottawa, with the Rangers holding the shooting edge and taking the play to the Bulls.  Their penalty killing in the third period was inspirational and pretty much could be credited with stopping any comeback hopes of the Bulls.  Then in the final minutes of the game with the Bulls thinking of relieving their netminder: Kevin Lalande in favour of the extra attacker, the Rangers' forecheck started creating havoc.  Dimunitive speedsters Justin Azevedo and Yves Bastien got to work, and Azevedo put a perfect shot past Lalande for insurance.  The Rangers would need it, immediately after the puck dropped, the Bulls did relieve their netminder and Tyler Donati scored with over a minute left on the clock with a high shot, and unfortunately many of the fans already in the parking lot, the Rangers would effectively kill the remainder of the time left on the clock, but would prove unable to find the vacated Belleville goal.  Donati's goal brought him back to within one of Matt Halischuk's total for tops in the league.