The Rangers only have three losses in their last 15 games, they've defeated some of the OHL's best, but cannot seem to conquor the Storm. The boys from Guelph are responsible for each of those three losses and each loss happened in its own unique way. The Rangers who's pathetic 2-6 record against the Storm was their weakness last season, seem to be encountering similar problems this season with their highway 7 rivals. Despite the absence of superstar defender: Ryan Parent, the Storm have been on a roll and have been a thorn in the side of many of the league's most competitive teams, but mostly the Rangers. The Rangers haven't always looked impressive in their last 15 where they've played .800 hockey, but the Storm have been the only team to capitalize on the Rangers' weaknesses. Kitchener may have gotten the easy end of the arrangements in the night prior. Kitchener played in Peterborough, meanwhile the Storm barely emerged from a wild 7-6 shootout in overtime i Oshawa - where the Rangers will be seen on Sunday.
Fate, as much as anything has had a hand in
exactly what has influenced wins and losses during the Rangers' season
series with the Storm. While the Rangers were struggling, fate may
have stepped in to allow former team captain: Jean-Michel Rizk to score
right off of the faceoff with only 1.3 seconds remaining in the period.
On this night a disasterous carrom off of the glass partition may have
sunk the Rangers. Just starting a power play in the first period,
the Storm cleared the puck into the Rangers zone, and Murray headed behind
the night to play the puck, but the puck played him and rebounded directly
infront of the net. In a state of fear and panic, Dan Gyenes wheeled
and fired the puck all in one motion sending it clear into the stands right
above the Rangers' bench. It was the second costly clear into the
stands in a few weeks though in Gyenes' defense this time it was unavoidable.
The Storm didn't take their time working on the two-man advantage.
Jamie Arniel found Mike McLean at the opposite side of the crease for an
easy tap in goal to open the scoring for the Storm.
Aside from the power play, the Storm generated very little pressure during the entire first period where the Rangers held a 10-4 shooting advantage and even a stronger zone advantage. The Storm stayed with the game plan that won their previous meeting against the Rangers and that was clogging up all shooting and passing lanes. It's a plan that the Storm, who have limited offensive depth, despite their 7-goal outburst in Oshawa utilize to win games, it doesn't help that they have a splendid 16-year-old starting netminder: Thomas McCollum. Unfortuantely for the Rangers by the end of the first period, they hadn't scored with a netminder defending sicne the first period in Peterbrough, over 60 minutes of hockey earlier. The Rangers were probably at their strongest in the second period, where they opened up an 11-4 shooting edge over the Storm. After the Rangers back-to-back penalties in the first period they only took one more penalty through the remainder of the game.
The Rangers playing shorthanded without the services of: Martello, Henderson and Spaling relied heavily upon their top two lines. Unfortunately, for the Rangers star forward: Steve Downie was feeling the effects of the flu and his abilities demished as the game went on but not his efforts. Anton Hedman snapped a shot past Murray early in the third period to give the Storm a 2-0 lead, a commanding one by the Storm's standards. The Rangers opened things up and the two teams started trading more chances. With just over five minutes left, the Rangers finally got their bounce a rebound onto the stick of Tsimikalis who wristed the shot into the corner of the net. The shutout was finally broken. In the game's final minute the Rangers had a power play, but couldn't get the required pressure to beat McCollum.