Four games against the Erie Otters, four goalies and by the end of the night the carousel was right back where it started. They started in Kitchener with Ryan Ludzik who played behind overager: Josh Disher last season. He got shelled early, but held on to make things close in a 4-2 loss. The Rangers encountered Jeff Dawson next and during one of the rookie's last games as an Otter sent him away with a shootout loss where the Otters mounted a tremendous comeback mainly on his back after starter: Ryan Ludzik was chased. Their third matchup, where for the third time in three games the Rangers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, Justin Garay, formerly of the Plymouth Whalers started in goal and eventually the Otters made a huge comeback in their third period with things looking their worst for the Otters. Enter Jonathan Laniel, the QMJHL overage free agent to came over to the OHL to keep his junior dream alive, the 4th Otters' starter to run into the Rangers, and fortunately for the Otters he would not be the victim of a 3-0 start for the enemy, however, he was part of a 5 goal barrage in the second period that lasted just over 7 minutes before his night concluded.
Phil Varone opened the scoring midway through
the first period, his first OHL tally, it would be a precursor to a night
of firsts for the Rangers who would enjoy a trio of first goals on the
night. Less than a minute later hard working sophomore Adam Zamec
was working with Scott Timmins and Kevin Henderson, a pair of hard workers,
he found a rebound on Henderson's shot, and bagged a rebound. Things
did get off to a quick and intense start with resident Rangers' toughguy:
Brian Soso dropping the gloves with rookie toughguy: Luke Gazdic, the rookie
didn't fair all too well, Soso pumelled the rookie with a series of long-bomb
rights before Gazdic, already thoroughly tangled in his own jersey elected
to hold on awaiting the officials who would come in a break up the fight.
One of the bigger stories on the night was the emergence of overage star:
Peter Tsimikalis, formerly of the Ottawa 67's and Oshawa Generals.
Tsimikalis signed with the Rangers earlier in the morning and he has some
familiarity with the Rangers after playing for the 67's team that lost
to the Rangers in the 2003 OHL finals, he was traded to the Generals in
order to acquire star sniper: Chris Hulit who played in the 2005 Memorial
Cup in London for the 67's.
After a fourth consecutive quick start against the Otters, the Rangers were again guilty of letting their foot off of the gas pedal. At one point the Otters were outshooting the Rangers 17-1 between late in the first period and early in the second period. Josh Vatri found the back of the net very quickly in the second period while on the power play and the Otters were only down by a single goal. Not only were the Otters just down by a goal, but they were pouring it on the Rangers, they had a two man advantage and their offensive pressure was scary at times, their finish wasn't so much. They struggled to find the back of the net on several occasions where it appeared that there was a sure goal. John Murray also came up with some completely spectacular stops early in the second period, especially one huge glove deflection when it appeared that he was down and out. In hockey there's an adage that stupid penalties are often the hardest to kill. With all of the momentum on the Otters' side, Zack Torquato hooked Kindl on his way off of the ice between a whistle and a faceoff, it would cause a scrimish infront of the Otters' bench, it would also cost the Otters' a power play.
During that power play, Victor Oreskovich would tip a Kevin Henderson shot through Johnathan Laniel and suddenly after nearly 20 minutes of dominance the Otters were right back where they started. No one knew it, but the clutch power play goal would open the flood gates. Josh Gazdic took an elbowing minor and Nick Spaling connected on the power play only a couple of minutes after Oreskovich had restored the two goal lead. There was a calm, until Phil Varone found Brian Soso infront of the net and Soso never let the puck stay on his stick for any time, and roofed it, Laniel got a piece of the shot, but the giant Rangers' scoring machine, similar to their matchup with the Storm was awoken. Matt Pepe managed to make some intersting moves at the blueline before sneaking in and putting a wrister through Laniel's five-hole. It was Pepe's first goal of the season, the 4th of his career. The onslaught finally ended with newcomer Peter Tsimikalis beating Laniel with a sniper-like shot on a breakaway. In all three Rangers had scored their first goals of the season during the 32nd game of the season. When the dust had cleared the Rangers had netted 5 goals in a timespan of 7:04. Kevin Henderson finished the scoring in the third period, for an 8-1 final. The only huge negative that was looming at games' end was the loss of steady rookie defender: Robert Bortuzzo, who injured his shoulder after being run into the boards awkwardly in the third period, he did not return and Steven Tarasuk would take his place. The Rangers weren't the only team playing shorthanded, the Otters were working without three of their top forwards: Nick Palmeiri, Sean O'Connor and Ronny Rogers, who had a pair of goals in the Otters 5-3 come-from-behind victory over the Rangers in Erie.