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History made as Kitchener last OHL city with shootout


Peter Tsimikalis and Steve Mason watch the puck sail wide during the shootout.


It might not be the most historic building in the OHL right now, perhaps it is.  But the Aud's time is coming.  By 2008 it could be abandoned by all of it's older brothers, located in Kingston, and Windsor.  After the big heavyweight tilt between the Knights and the Rangers, the Aud can add just one more notch to its belt.  The Kitchener Rangers, and their home the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium are the last to host an OHL shootout, infact they might be the last in the entire CHL, seeing as how popular shootouts have become.  They nearly survived three full seasons without a shootout, an odd feat if there was one.  Earlier in the season the Rangers and fellow powerhouse team, the Plymouth Whalers appeared destined for a shootout in Kitchener, before then captain Jean-Michel Rizk sent the crowd into a frenzy with a last minute overtime winner, in that game it appeared as if the two teams were too fatigued to create the offense required to score in the 5 minute timeframe.

A couple of big hits were potentially as big and important as the goals scored in their tremendously thrilling matchup.  Late in the first period Sergei Kostitsyn stepped onto the ice and absolutely flattened Steve Downie who had his head down while skating at him.  Contact was so violent with Downie's up ice speed that his visor snapped right off of his helmet, as Downie crashed into the ice crumpled as if he was in a speedy car accident.  A melee ensued not resulting in much.  Kostitsyn was afforded the opportunity for the huge open ice hit, by hopping on the ice far, far too prematurely for his change, someone who was behind Downie when he picked up the breakout pass from deep in the Rangers' end.  Perhaps comically, but unfortunately for the Rangers, Downie left for repairs but miraculously was able to return in the middle of the too-many men power play, unfortunately Downie's trip from dressing from to the point on the power play didn't also involve a step to strap up the helmet, and as a result Downie was assessed an infraction for illegal equipment on the play. 


Scott Aarssen battles with Steve Mason at the top of the crease during the first period.

David Meckler, a snipper that the Knights were able to acquire during the off-season, opened the scoring late in the first period, with Downie in the box for his illegal equipment penalty, it was the hit that kept on hurting for Downie and his teammates.  After a very solid first period which afforded the Rangers many socring opportunities but few rebounds in opportune spots for the home town side.  Downie would pick up a rebound early in the second period and beat Mason to bring the Rangers back to even terms.  It didn't take long for the Knights to get back to even terms, Sergei Kostitsyn blasted a wicked shot from the point that beat Murray clean.  The Rangers replied to that goal with a power play goal of their own, Victor Oreskovich slammed home a rebound minutes later to tie the score at two.  After Justin Taylor scored for the Knights, the Rangers replied on the power play for the second time.  Jakub Kindl's point shot was tipped perfectly by Kevin Henderson, for his 25th goal of the season, the Rangers would leave the second period after a flurry with a 3-3 tie.

In the second period there was another big hit that may have preceeded everything that occured prior to it in importance.  While imerging from his own corner Jakub Kindl caught Robbie Drummond slamming the 5th year Knights' forward's head into the glass.  The Aud glass long known as unforgiving kept true to it's reputation, Drummond took a long time to get off of the ice and really wouldn't be seen from again.  Jakub Kindl, on the other hand was asssessed a game misconduct along with a head-checking penalty that softened the Rangers' power play through the duration of regulation and overtime.  The third period and overtime were equally a thrilling as the second period, though there was no scoring, plenty of close calls.  Patrick Kane, whom Murray had stoned in a shootout in London was first to break the ice, and with the last of their first three shooters, Matt Halischuk was the last home for the Rangers.  He made good beating Mason with a shot.  Adam Perry ended the shootout with a goal in the 5th round, London took a 4-3 victory from the stunned crowd that saw Kitchener dominate through 60 minutes.