Damiani’s late goal propels Rangers to victory over Otters
Riley Damiani scored the game winner with 3:51 to play and added an assist as the Kitchener Rangers (23-11-2-0) rallied to defeat the Erie Otters (11-19-5-1), 4-3, in front of 7,042 fans at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday night.
The Rangers trailed 2-0 after the first period of play, but exploded with three second period goals to take a 3-2 lead into the third period. After surrendering the game tying goal in the third, Damiani’s go-ahead goal proved to be the winner as the Blueshirts earned their third straight victory.
Logan Stanley and Connor Bunnaman also etched the scoresheet, while Cole Carter registered a pair of assists.
Adam Mascherin tallied a goal and an assist in the win, tying a career high 13-game point scoring streak set November 4 – December 7, 2016 where he registered 12 goals and nine assists. During his current streak, the winger has 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points.
It was the third straight win in goal for Luke Richardson (16-8-1-0), who turned aside 21 of 24 Otters shots.
Daniel Murphy (0-3-0-0) still searches for his first OHL win, as the Guelph native surrendered four goals despite making 30 saves.
At 13:04 of the first period Ivan Lodnia gave the Otters the game’s opening goal, his 17th of the season, from Patrick Fellows and Kyle Makimovich.
Just 1:56 later it was a 2-0 game on the stick of Chad Yetman, from Fellows and Gera Poddybnyi, at the 15:00 mark which rounded out first period scoring.
The Rangers trailed on the score clock but led in shots by a 10-8 margin.
In the second period the Blueshirts took charge, all in the second half of the frame.
At 12:41 Mascherin extended his team lead in goals to 24 with a powerful one-timer from just inside the circle to get the Rangers on the board, 2-1, from Giovanni Vallati.
With the Rangers on the power play during the only penalty called in the game up to that point, Logan Stanley tallied his eighth of the season to tie the game, 2-2, from Mascherin and Carter at 17:09.
Just 1:36 later, captain Bunnaman scored his third goal in four games to give the Rangers their first lead, 3-2, to close out scoring through 40 minutes. Damiani and Carter earned the assists on the goal at 18:45.
Shots on goal through the opening two periods of play favoured Kitchener, 24-13.
With 6:44 to play in regulation the Otters tied the game, as Maksimovich scored his 20th of the campaign to make it 3-3, from Mitchell Byrne and Maxim Golod.
Just as the Rangers appeared to miss an offensive opportunity in the Erie zone due to an odd bounce, an Otters clearing attempt also took a fortuitous bounce – this time in favour of the home side – and Damiani capitalized, giving the Blueshirts a 4-3 lead at 16:09 and, in turn, the win.
Final shots on goal were 34-24, Kitchener.
The Rangers finished the game 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Otters were not awarded a chance with the man advantage.
Patrick Fellows (ER) (3), Riley Damiani (KIT) (2), and Connor Bunnaman (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Joseph Garreffa, Adam Mascherin, and Logan Stanley each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
The Rangers are off for the rest of the weekend until Monday, January 1, 2018 when they make their lone trip of the season to Peterborough to take on the Petes at 2pm on New Year’s Day. They’ll faceoff against another Eastern Conference opponent, the Barrie Colts, on Tuesday, January 2 at 7pm back home at The Aud.
Regular season tickets to all Kitchener Rangers home games are $23.00 each for adults, $19.00 for children 12 and under including HST, and are available in person or by calling the Activa Box Office at The Aud, from Centre in the Square (519) 578-1570 -or- 1-800-265-8977, or by purchasing online.
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