The Rangers aren't welcome guests in Barrie apparently. Something to do with boring the hometown fans half to death. The Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead for the second straight night against a nationally ranked team and cruised to victory. The Rangers aren't popular in Barrie, it's not like the London Knights where fans boo the opposition and many universally hate the London Knights. Though, during the game the Rangers were compared to the Colts, by the Colts broadcast group, it was more of a reference to the Rangers utilizing the 5-forward power play. Something that was more of a necessity rather than an offensive innovation. The Rangers without each of their top 3 defenders were trying their hardest to limit the ice time of many of the younger blueliners who didn't have the experience in pulling down some of the minutes that they were of late. Simply put the Rangers suffocated the Colts in a dominant 1-0 victory in Barrie, this year they almost shut them out again, falling only 6 minutes short of that goal. In fact, the Barrie Colts last defeat of the Kitchener Rangers on home ice was back in 2002, before Bryan Little or all of the other Colts' veterans had their feet wet in the OHL.
The Rangers' weren't the only team playing
shorthanded, the Colts were without two of the league's premier forwards:
Bryan Little of Cambridge who was bidding for a spot on the Canadian World
Junior Championship team and veteran forward: Hunter Tremblay, it left
the Colts offense looking severely deficient, despite running up against
a rather green-looking Rangers' defensive corps. The secondary scoring
of the Colts would not be able to capitalize on this advantage. John
Murray wasn't overly interested in allowing the Colts to get on the scoreclock
either. The Colts netminder: Micheal Hutchinson, one of many 16-year-olds
in the league backstopping their teams, he was fortunate throughout the
opening period. Hutchinson picked up a cling, clang and thud later
in the period. The Rangers pounded a series of three shots off of
posts behind Hutchinson, none of which Hutchinson never appeared to see,
still none beat him on the inside of the posts either.
The scoreless shutout was only broken in the second period when Nick Spaling put a Peter Tsimikalis feed behind Hutchinson givin the Rangers the lead on the power play. A power play that we sorely missing it's two premier pointmen, wasn't pretty, but was efficient in a matchup that saw both teams only awarded a total of 5 power plays each. Both netminders even helped inflate that total by picking up delay of game penalties, one to Hutchinson in the first for freezing a puck outside of the crease with little pressure and Rangers' puckstopper: John Murray who was guilty of inadvertantly knocking the post off while enduring intense pressure in the Rangers' zone. Rangers' top goal scorer: Matt Halischuk was taking a beating physically all game long, especially while blocking shots on the penalty kill. Unforutnately Halishcuk also took a hard and uncalled head shot during the first period.
The already strong Rangers' play became dominant during the third period, by games' end the Rangers were nearly doubling up the Colts on the shotclock ending with a 40-22 total. Peter Tsimikalos scored early in the final frame to give the Rangers' a two-goal cushion, Nick Spaling returned his favour from the first period with the setup and Tsimikalis didn't make a mistake. Midway through the third period Mike Duco intercepted a Brian Soso pass that was intended for one of the blueliners. Duco, who had just gotten on the ice made the odd decision to shot, but seeing as how Hutchinson wasn't ready and didn't see the shot, it appeared to be a good idea floating under the crossbar, opening up a 3-0 lead. Duco was thwarted in the first period, he hit the crossbar, nearly where the crossbar and post met. Sophomore Joe Pleckaitis beat John Murray taking a pass while all alone in front, it broke up the shutout with only 5:16 remaining in the third period, unfortunately most of the crowd of 4,059 had early made their way to the exits. Despite playing the Colts in two pre-season matchups, it was the first time that Murray had seen the Colts. Jean-Michel Rizk was re-inserted into the lineup and this game it was turn for Kevin Henderson to sit. Peter Tsimikalis was first star for the second consecutive night with his 5th consecutive multi-point effort since joining the Rangers.