Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

Site searchWeb search

Rangers finally solve McCollum, Storm

Cody St. Jacques gloves a puck for a much needed stoppage in the second

Sure the Ranger were desperately hanging on to hopes of catching the London Knights, though unrealistic as the Knights would encounter the 20th overall Otters for a home-at-home series while still battling out the Conference title with the Plymouth Whalers.  No denying that only a collosal collapse by the Knights' would open up an opportunity for the Rangers to take the division title, one that the Knights have owned for each of the last 4 seasons.  The motivation was much bigger than pride, it was a question of could the Rangers beat the Storm, their most likely first round opponent in the post-season, and if the series were to go down anything similar to the latter part of the regular season head-to-head series, the Rangers' stay in the postseason would be a short one.  Last season the Rangers found themselves in a similar scenario, they appeared to be in for a thrashing, when the Storm took a sizable lead, but the Rangers made a valient comeback for the win.  This game really had to be the same for the Rangers' confidence entering the post-season.

The Rangers, already short star wingers: Victor Oreskovich and Steve Downie were known to be out of the lineup, the Rangers got an unpleasant surprise when Mike Duco showed up at the rink sick to his stomach increasing the amount of players out of the lineup for the Rangers.  After game after game of building frustration for the Rangers, they did what they didn't in all of the other games.  Nazem Kadri setup Kevin Henderson infront of the Storm net and Henderson didn't make any mistake simply adding a goal in his third straight game, and adding to his career year with the Rangers.  Midway through the period, Dan Kelly made an excellent move at the point, first he lost his check while with the puck and then proceeded in on the Guelph net drawing in a defender and Thomas McCollum for a shot before dishing to Matthew Martello who scored his third of the season and made it look easy.

Cody St. Jacques replaced starter: Thomas McCollum and only allowed one goal on 18 shots.

In most instances allowing the same amount of goals, as you have shots on goal in one period, would prove instanteously fatal, but not on this weeknight.  The Guelph Storm only managed to direct 2 shots at John Murray, Thomas McCollum obviously would be missing activity as he is usually bombarded with shots by the opposition.  The Rangers themselves struggled themselves in keeping the Storm netminder busy though they did beat him twice on 6 shots.  Early in the second period the Rangers expanded on their lead.  This time it was Brian Soso, who's elusive wrist shot beat McCollum for his 9th of the season.  That goal would chase one of the best 17-year-old netminders in the recent history of the OHL.  McCollum for the second time against the Rangers would be pulled in favour of Cody St. Jacques, a fellow rookie that hasn't exactly been a pushover during his brief stay in the OHL as a rookie thus far.  They form the OHL's youngest netminding tandem along with Peterborough's: Trevor Cann and Jason Missiaen who are also 17 and 16 years old respectively.

The only thing that the Rangers weren't doing was scoring on the Storm backup netminder, they did plenty of that early in the season when they jumped out to a huge lead in Kitchener earlier in the season after trailing much of the game 1-0 and 2-1.  They took care of the that in the third period with a power play goal by Justin Azevedo.  The only thing in question was the shutout and a shutout would have meant that John Murray, who entered the game tied with Thomas McCollum for the league shutout lead.  With the game's result out of question, the focus turned to the shutout and Murray's bid to leap ahead of McCollum.  That shutout would be dashed in the final three minutes by Drew Doughty who scored from the point on the power play.  The Rangers took a 4-1 victory home.  For the first time in his short Jr. career Nazem Kadri was first star with a trio of assists.  Brian Soso took home second star honours.  The win allowed the Rangers to establish OHL history.  They became the first OHL team to win games in all 20 arenas during the regular season, it took them 4 tries to get Guelph right.