It was the game that Charles had hand picked, pressure galore, not only was it going to be the first home game for Charles Lavigne. Given Lavigne's play against the Barrie Colts in the pre-season where he was bombed in Barrie and approaching spectacular in Kitchener, perhaps home is where Lavigne's most comfortable. It's not something that he shares in common with the remainder of the team who's record is barely over .500 on home ice. Still, it's been a wild and unpredictable ride for the 18-year-old OHL rookie netminder, one that is even more wild than Eric Pfligler's emergence in Kitchener. Lavigne was originally cut on the Saturday of Labour Day weekend in 2005, but asked to stick around for fan appreciation day. Then after earning a spot on the team after a wild pre-season, Lavigne's only start was a disasterous one in Owen Sound where the Rangers, effectively managed to score two goals on their own net in a matchup that was seldomly in doubt after the midway point of the second period. After returning to his Tier II team, Mark Packwood was moved to give the uniquely styled netminder his shot in between the pipes for the Rangers.
Similar to the Rangers, the Frontenacs were
a little on the crippled side. Like his older brother: Anthony Stewart,
the Frontenacs power forward and younger brother is one of those players
that the team isn't quite the same without. But like his big brother
Chris Stewart was away trying to make the Canadian World Junior Championship
team in Calgary. The Rangers, on the other hand were missing a pair
of top tier forwards along with their number one defense pairing.
For both teams it was a three-in-three weekend, with the Frontenacs coming
off a loss and a longer drive from Erie Pennsylvania. The last matchup
between these two teams on a Sunday was a thriller, a late come-from-behind
win. This game in many respects parelleled that one, including a
very healthy away fan pressence by a busload of Kingston fans. Kingston
also got the quick start in this one. Kyle Bochek scored his
first of two career goals on the night only 1:55 into the first period.
A period that saw Kitchener putting quantity over quality on the Kingston
Yves Bastien drew the Rangers' even in the first period with a shorthanded tally that handcuffed former Spirit and Battalion netminder Aaron Rock before squeezing through the five hole. Even later in the period Peter Tsimikalis snuck the puck past Aaron Rock on a beautiful give and go with Victor Oreskovich. The chemistry between Oreskovich and Tsimikalis has been instanteanous and electric since Tsimikalis' signing with the Ramgers. Aside from having hard to pronounce last names the duo appears to have lots of things in common with their style despite their difference in size. The one duo that the Rangers seemed completely unable to shut down involved Cory Emmerton, a forward that many felt worthy of the WJC selection camp and Bobby Hughes who was arguably the strongest force on the ice while the Rangers were in Kingston. With both Kindl and Bortuzzo out of the lineup, the Rangers' struggled to contain that dynamic duo, and just prior to the end of the first period they struck on the power play tying the game at two, it what was evidently not going to be a classic in terms of crisp play as both teams were already showing signs of fatigue and defensive lapses were appearing in the early going. Nick Spaling temporarily regained the lead for the Rangers during the second, scoring the Rangers' only power play goal of the night, his first of two goals on the night.
Bobby Hughes was up to his old tricks, some nice moves and a shot later, and the game was tied in the second period, for Hughes it was his 23rd of the season and second on the night. The Rangers seemed to sag a little in the second period, despite being outshot during many recent second periods the Rangers have seemed to find themselves in a very good place on the scoreclock of late, this game was a notable exception. Kyle Bochek's second on the night late in the period gave the Frontenacs their second lead of the night. Much like they did in Kingston, the Rangers wouldn't go quietly. Nick Spaling broke into double-digits in goal scoring, again Oreskovich was in the play, as this was easily Kitchener's most dominant line. The goal in the end that decided the game was nothing short of an oddity, as Tsimikalis slapped a rebound at the net and watched it climb the post, before spinning to the air and deflecting into the net off of the back of Aaron Rock who was stunned on the play. The Rangers were playing 4-on-4 during the goal, but immediately afterwards they would face a key penalty kill. Charles Lavigne had to earn his first OHL victory after already allowing 4 goals, but stopped Cory Emmerton on a clear break. Thunderous applause awaited the Rangers as the clock rolled down to zero with the Rangers celebrating Charles Lavigne's first OHL victory in only his second start.