Bunnaman’s three point night helps lead Rangers past Sting
Connor Bunnaman scored twice and added an assist as the Kitchener Rangers (15-7-0-1) capped off a solid road effort with a 6-3 win over the Sarnia Sting (12-9-3-0) in front of a crowd of 2,609 fans at Progressive Auto Sales Arena on Wednesday night.
The win was the fourth straight for the Rangers, while the Sting sustained their fifth straight loss.
It was the second three-point game of the season for Bunnaman, who helped guide the Rangers to a 1-0 lead after one period of play, and a 4-2 lead after two.
Luke Opilka got the nod in goal for the Rangers and earned his second win of the season (2-1-0-0), making 27 saves. Justin Fazio (12-6-2-0) took the loss in goal for the Sting, allowing five goals on 39 shots.
Rangers rookie defenceman Giovanni Vallati notched the second two-point game of his OHL career with a goal and an assist, while Riley Damiani, Mason Kohn and Nick McHugh were the other goal scorers for the Blueshirts.
Jeremy Bracco’s season long point streak was extended once again – now to 20 games – as the 19-year-old added three assists Wednesday night to increase his totals on the campaign to 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points.
With a pair of assists, Adam Mascherin is now riding an eight-game point streak with six goals and eight assists for 14 points.
Damiani opened the game’s scoring, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead with his third of the season, from Bracco and Bunnaman, at 13:41 of the first period.
It would be the lone goal of the opening frame, as the game would go to the first intermission with the Rangers leading the Sting in shots 14-9.
Vallati tallied his fourth of the campaign to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead, from Jacob Cascagnette and Dylan Seitz, just 2:01 into the second period.
Bunnaman would register his second point of the game giving the Rangers a three-goal lead, a power play goal from Bracco and Mascherin, at the 6:46 mark of the period.
The Sting would begin to come on moments later, as Adam Ruzicka capitalized on a Rangers turnover and got the home side on the score sheet, 3-1, unassisted at 9:35.
With the teams playing 4-on-4 hockey Sarnia would strike again with Alex Black’s second goal of the season, from Nikita Korostelev and Jordan Kyrou at 10:42, making it a 3-2 game.
Kohn gave the Rangers back their two-goal lead at 16:34, scoring his fourth of the season from Vallati and Frank Hora to close out second period scoring.
Shots on goal in the second period were 17-10 Kitchener for a two period total of 31-19 Rangers.
Bunnaman tallied his second of the night midway through the third period, this time on the power play, from Mascherin and Bracco to give the Rangers back a three-goal lead, 5-2, at 10:31 of the third period.
Troy Lajeunesse made it 5-3 at 14:33 from Brady Hinz and Kyrou, but it was as close as the Sting would come as Nick McHugh added an insurance marker with an empty net goal with 1:52 to play, from Darby Llewellyn and Kohn to ice the game’s scoring.
Third period shots on goal were 11-9 Sarnia for a game total of 40-30 in favour of the Rangers.
Kitchener was 2-for-7 on the power play, while Sarnia was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
With five successful penalty kills, Heffner Lexus Toyota graciously donates another $50 to the Heffner Lexus Toyota PK Tally for a running total this season of $790 in support of Sun Life Financial Kids in Gear.
Ruzicka (SAR) (3), Vallati (KIT) (2), and Bunnaman (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Dylan Di Perna and Darby Llewellyn each wore “A’s” and skated as alternates to Rangers captain Frank Hora.
The Rangers return home to the Aud on Friday, November 25 when they host the Owen Sound Attack at 7:30pm.
Regular season tickets to Kitchener Rangers home games are $22.50 each for adults, $18.50 for children 12 and under, including HST and are available in person or by calling the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Box Office or Centre in the Square (519) 578-1570 -or- 1-800-265-8977, or by purchasing online.