Another surprise signing by the Rangers, Mathew Martello another US College signing, this time originally drafted by the Rangers in the 6th round. Suddenly the team had a stronger veteran pressence up front, and perhaps someone to fill the void left by Justin Azevedo who's getting closer and closer to returning to the fold after nearly two months with an ankle injury suffered in the ADT Canada-Russia Challege. The Majors are the only Eastern Conference team to have defeated the Rangers, and they did so on Kitchener's own ice. Revenge was in order, and the Rangers didn't waste time getting started, less than two minutes into the game, Victor Oreskovich fired the puck past Wayne Savage, it wasn't the first good opportunity that the Rangers had in the first period either. The goal happened only 2 second after a faceoff in the Toronto zone while the two teams were playing some four-on-four hockey. Mathew Martello didn't wait long to make a thundering impact in this game, his first in the OHL. Martello absolutely flattened one of the Majors at centre ice and was made to account for it by Majors captain and former Sarnia Sting player: Michael Haley.
Not too many punches were thrown by the two
combatants, virtually none by Martello, but Haley even didn't take too
much advantage of the surprised Rangers' center. Somehow in the end,
after a clean hit and a bit of an attack by Haley, the Rangers ended up
with seven consecutive minutes in powerplay time. Haley was assessed
the only penalties on the play, an instigator and a fighting major.
Surprisingly after the early Rangers' goal, the power play despite many
great chances, and the Rangers holding the puck in the Majors' zone for
sustained periods of time, the Rangers still struggled and the Majors'
game breaker: Justin Donati made them pay with his speed scoring shorthanded
and silencing many of the Rangers fans who were occupying most of the bench
side of the arena. Henderson struck only minutes later to make up
for the shorthanded tally by the Majors, this regained the lead for the
Rangers, and put the Majors back on their heals with a whole 5:40 to kill
in the Haley penalties after the Henderson goal.
When the Majors were close to having finally killed the massive Rangers' power play Michael McGurk took a cross-checking minor, to further compound the Majors' problems. Victor Oreskovich scored his second of the period with the Rangers enjoying a two-man advantage to open up a two-goal lead. The Majors were able to kill the remainder of the McGurk penalty, but their zone was more like a shooting range with the Rangers firing the puck at the net at will. Wayne Savage, the third star of the game was the only thing keeping things close for the Majors who were swarmed by a potent Rangers' attack that would fire 24 shots on goal during the first period, a total that would match the Majors' total for the entire 60 minutes. Unfortuantely after a very dominant period, the Majors were able to salvage the frame on a strong point, with Matt Caria scoring with only 4 seconds left while on the powerplay. Early in the second period, Kevin Henderson scored on the powerplay, restoring the two goal lead.
The Majors would have their day, as the Rangers did during the first period, but it was the Rangers who stepped it up on the penalty kill. The Majors had five consecutive power plays during the second and third periods, but were thwarted each time, all golden opportunities to get back into the game. The Rangers were strong and continued to fire quality shots at Savage while they were not killing penalties. Yves Bastien put things away during the third period with his 10th of the season. Earlier in the period Wayne Savage appeared to have injured himself when the Rangers' crashed the net, but he still refused to give up on his team. Savage continued playing and continuing to keep the score very respectible for the Majors. Mathew Martello assisted on the 4th goal of the game for the Rangers for his first OHL point. Dan Kelly had to depart early after getting a nasty cut on the lip from a high stick.