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Enter Steve Mason


Steve Mason goes down to cover the bottom corner of the net, Mason's brilliance led to a first star selection.


With the season-series already under wraps, the Rangers went to the business of trying to end the portion of games played in Guelph with the clean sweep, already with a 2-0 record in the Royal City, the Rangers had a pair of Wednesday night visits left prior to the end of the season.  After a very strong weekend where the Rangers took three-of-three, the Rangers entered their matchup with the Storm with tonnes of momentum, but could prove to be susceptable after a pair of games against the Western Conferences' 10th ranked Erie Otters.  Apparently someone forgot to inform the Rangers of this fact early on.  The Rangers were dominant in the opening minutes of the matchup.  It wouldn't take too long until those efforts were rewarded infront of a near-capacity crowd, that was highly supplemented by Rangers fans.  Mike Duco scored his 30th, on a funky play infront of netminder: Thomas McCollum, for Duco, it was the first time that Duco had reached the 30-goal plateau in his four-plus season OHL career.

Duco was Mr. everything for the Rangers in their last visit to Guelph, this time he would play a prominent but lesser role in the matchup, contributing a little offense and a lot of physical play.  Equally awkward was Scott Tregunna's marker late int he period from an odd angle with defender Dan Kelly picking up the assist.  The goals weren't pretty, but without a doubt, the Rangers dominated the first period holding a dominant 16-9 edge in shots.  The Storm did rebound at the end of the first and they took that momentum into the second period with them.  Either the Storm turned up the intensity knob, or the Rangers let off of the gas in the middle frame either way, a very sharp looking performance was quickly starting to look sloopy at times.  Very notable was the severe lack of penalties throughout the game, a game that ended with 6 man advantages total between the two teams.


Scott Tregunna tries to get his hands on a rebound directly infront of the Guelph net.

After an uninspiring second period, the Rangers didn't exactly hit the ice like men on a mission during the third period, their entry to the ice as a rather early, casual and relaxed one.  A similar effort would follow, right from the get-go the Storm swarmed the Rangers.  The Rangers may have spent more time in their own zone than they have at any other point this season.  Drew Doughty generated an opprotunity that former Attack forward: Derek Brochu capitalized on.  Unfortunately for the Rangers the goal would make things much tighter much earlier than they would have liked it.  Immediately after the goal the Rangers were forced to kill a pair of power plays caused by infractions to Kelly for clearing the puck over the glass and later Matt Pepe for elbowing when he got a little too aggressive going for the body.  Perhaps for the first time since joining the Rangers, the team really leaned on their netminder, and in return, Mason put on a clinic between the pipes.  The penalty kills weren't easy, but Steve Mason made some of the stops look easy with some brilliant positioning.

The Rangers didn't really get back in gear until the net of the period with the team starting to generate an effective forecheck.  The final minute was a strong one for the Rangers effectively sufficating the Storm attack.  The Rangers held on, but it was mainly the play of Steve Mason that earned them the win.  He was undoubtably the difference in the game, and was recognized as such, the only Ranger to be awarded with a game star, but he was the first star and received a lengthy round of applause from the hundreds of Rangers' fans in attendance.  For the Rangers it was their third win in three in Guelph.  On the eve of Super Bowl Sunday the Storm snuck out of Kitchener with a one-goal. victory that many might argue that they did not win with a solid effort over 60 minutes and one could very easily argue that this was the case with the first of two Wednesday night matchups in Guelph.