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Comeback win thrills fans, sweeps weekend set


John Murray juggles a shot during the 2nd period with traffic infront.


No excuses for the Rangers.  Sure, they were playing their third game in two and a half days, but so were the Frontenacs, and therefore the Rangers were on even terms with the Frontenacs, if nothing, they held the advantage with the Frontenacs traveling from Barrie landing in Kingston in the early hours of the morning, and then having to head out to the arena for 2:00 start on home ice, certainly the Rangers' trip from Belleville 45 minutes down the road was much easier.  It was a collision of two tired teams and a collision of two hot teams.  The Frontenacs were coming off a 6-0 home ice victory against the IceDogs and their first road win in Barrie the night before.  After a night off in Belleville the Rangers back with their starter John Murray who allowed 5 third period goals in Ottawa.  Unfortuantely for Murray, an early goal by Kingston's Bobby Hughes, would shake up the veteran Rangers' netminder early.  Ben Shutron put a point shot on goal, that made at least two deflections before sliding through Murray's legs slowly giving the Frontenacs the early lead, it was the first time in the whole weekend that the Rangers had trailled, it seemed to stun the Rangers who played a solid first period but could not get the early jump on the Frontenacs who had a familiar face in goal, former Guelph Storm netminder Jason Guy.  Guy was coming off a pair of weekend victories including a shutout on home ice on the Friday night.

Second periods were strong for the Rangers all weekend long, and this game was no exception.  The Rangers came out flying and very early on Mike Duco tied the game at a goal each, forcing his way to the Kingston net.  Bobby Hughes struck again for the Frontenacs soon after restoring Kingston' sone goal lead, much to the delight of the crowd of nearly 2,600, though it sounds small in size compared to most of the crowds that Kitchener has been enjoying recently that Sunday afternoon crowd had to be the biggest post year 2000 crowd that has taken in a visit by the Kitchener Rangers.  Much of that relates to the Frontenacs losing ways of late, something that could change with new head coach Bruce Cassidy at the helm this season.  Cassidy took over for former Kitchener Rangers' forward Jim Hulton who also coached in Belleville and Mississauga prior to arriving in Kingston.  Just when it appeared that a very strong period by the Rangers might turn out fruitless in terms of the happenings on the score board, Matt Halischuk raced in shorthanded and managed to reach around Jason Guy on a clear breakaway drawing cheers from the couple hundred Rangers' fans who were in attendance making noise behind the Rangers' bench. 


Rangers' head coach Peter DeBoer protests the officiating after a sucession of 5 consecutive infractions against the Rangers.

The Rangers hard skating didn't seem to make them beneficiaries of any extra power play time in the second period.  As a tired team they faced the ugly scenario of having to fight the long change in the third period as Kingston has opposite side benches that force the visitors to have their bench in the offensive zone two of the three periods.  The third being the most tiring of the 9 on the weekend it created some unnecessary heart ache for the Rangers.  Already without the services of assistant coach Steve Spott who was ejected in Ottawa just prior to the end of overtime, Peter DeBoer was working on his own ejection routine in Kingston.  After a 4th consecutive minor to the Rangers' DeBoer protested modelling wiht a towel over his head, eventually drawing the ire of referee Dave Lewis who assessed a bench minor after the Frontenacs had taken the lead on a two man advantage.  In the same stoppage Matt Halischuk was given a ten-minute misconduct and lost until past the end of regulation time, a bad fate for the Rangers who desperately needed scoring late to tie the game and lost his services.

In the Rangers' defense many of the calls made were of the marginal variety and unfortunately interference wasn't called in most games during the weekend allowing their opponents to get away with murder while on the power play at times.  Though the power play chances were there the Frontenacs man advantage team, stalled and sputtered at times, it wasn't until Dan Kelly found his way to the box for tripping that Cory Emmerton was able to beat John Murray with a screened blast from the top of the circle that gave the Fronts the lead.  A late penalty to rookie Bobby Nyholm for tripping was the break that the Rangers needed late, they sustained pressure early on the power play and then with their netminder and just under a minute left Justin Azevedo scored on a one-timer blasting the puck over Guy's shoulder tying the game.  In overtime with the Rangers' fan section urging them on, the Rangers caught a second break.  What appeared to be incidental contact between Jakub Kindl and Bobby Hughes was assessed as a hooking minor to the veteran Frontenac forward who was working on a 3 point night.  His work would end there, as a beautiful point blast off the stick of Yannick Weber would end the game early in overtime for the Rangers.  Matt Halischuk never did return, except to congradulate his teammates after the victory.