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Sloopy play helps Rangers turn tables on Hull

Kanko and Roy double up on Remparts

Petr Kanko scores his tournament leading third goal icing the
game for the Rangers in the final period.

The two game one winners met in on Monday and the only one could continue unbeaten in the tourney.  As they did in their first game the Hull Olympiques struck twice, the game also finished 4-1 like their first Memorial Cup run in against the Kelowna Rockets, the WHL champions.  The difference for Hull was that they were clearly on the wrong end of the 4-1 score as the Rangers scored 4 unanswered goals after Sam Roberts opened the scoring for Hull.  The experienced Rangers didn't let the first goal faze them, they made a habit of not allowing the first goal to determine their destiny during their OHL championship run, and unlike Kelowna before them didn't panic.

It did take the Rangers some time to get up on the board, and when they did it came from the most unlikely of sources, Jesse Boucher whom the Rangers signed just prior to the trade deadline hadn't scored a goal during the entire postseason in 21 Rangers' playoff games.  In fact Boucher only had one playoff point, on this play he looked more like a regular sniper, which he was noted for at the Tier II level, his shot went directly under the crossbar and very quickly early in the second.

The goal, though it was one of 4 for the Rangers was probably the most important.  The Rangers directed 38 shots total at Éric LaFrance, including 12 during a shutout first period.  The OHL champion Rangers were starting to look frustrated because of some of the goaltending heroics of LaFrance.

Statistically the Rangers' powerplay struggled, as did the Hull powerplay, they went 0-10, and 0-9 respectively during the penalty-filled game.  The Rangers did look better than they did in the opener on the man-advantage where they were 2 for 7, allowing one shorthanded goal, they were generating chances but not goals.

The eventually winner came less than 5 minutes after Boucher's goal finally broke the Rangers goose-egg in the second period.  George Halkidis pinched in deep, picked up the puck, and was able to catch LaFrance moving the wrong way with a crafty backhander that found the top corner much like the rest of the three goals that the Rangers scored during the game.

With the Rangers leading 2-1 the Hull Olympiques started getting extremely sloppy in the neutral zone.  Odd man rushes were the theme of the day, something that the Olympiques had thoroughly enjoyed inflicting on the Rockets of Kelowna only one night before.

In the third period two prominant Ranger snipers got the best of LaFrance, who had a very strong game, keeping things respectible for the QJMHL champion: Olympiques.  Derek Roy managed to shake one defender and once in with Campbell with only one other defender left, ripped a shot at the top corner.  Peter Kanko managed to score on a classic cross-crease then roofed backhand shot while in alone to give the Rangers a 4-1 cushion in the late going of the third.  Only seconds later, Gregory Campbell just missed increasing the lead to 5-1.

The win allowed the Rangers to equal their playoff-high winning streak of 6 games.  This previously occured when the Rangers swept the Soo before winning the first two in their series with the Storm.  The win also clinched a spot in at least the semi-final for the Rangers as the home team and regardless of the result of the Rangers vs. Kelowna game, may be enough to buy them entry to the final via a bye.

Though he wasn't overly busy, Scott Dickie was sharp when called upon by the Rangers, he stopped 25 of 26 shots to lower his tournament GAA to 2.00, best of all netminders in the tourney.  Just under 8500 attended the game.