After the Kitchener Rangers picked up a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Erie Otters last Sunday at the Aud, it was all Otters on Tuesday night in Pennsylvania.
The Otters (32-10-2-1) took a 3-0 lead in the first period of play and were never truly tested, as they handed the Rangers (26-16-2-2) just their second shutout loss of the season, 5-0, in front of an announced crowd of 2,851 at the Erie Insurance Arena.
Erie now sits in a tie with the London Knights for the lead in the Midwest Division, each with 67 points, and remains undefeated on home ice in regulation this season (22-0-1-1).
Shots on goal were a huge storyline on the night, as the Rangers mustered just two shots in each the first and second periods, finishing in favour of the Otters, 37-13.
Troy Timpano (28-5-0-0) picked up the win while earning his third shutout of the season, needing just 13 saves to do so.
Luke Opilka (9-9-1-1) was the hard-luck loser in spite of bouts of brilliance once again in the Rangers goal. He would finish with 32 saves on the night, including an incredible stop on Erie’s Alex DeBrincat; sure to be highlighted in Week 18 of the Ontario Hockey League’s Janes Saves of the Week.
DeBrincat would notch a four-point night with a goal and three assists and now regains sole possession of the OHL’s point scoring lead with 37 goals and 78 points, taking a four-point lead over Kitchener’s Adam Mascherin (28 goals, 74 points) who was sidelined for a second-straight game following an injury sustained at the Aud versus the Guelph Storm on Friday night.
Taylor Raddysh was one of the Erie goal scorers, and creeps closer to Mascherin in the OHL points race while currently sitting third with 28 goals and 72 points.
Kyle Maksimovich gave the Otters a 1-0 lead just 5:11 into the first period with a power play goal, his 13th of the season assisted by Warren Foegele and DeBrincat.
Just under two minutes later it was 2-0 Erie, after Dylan Strome broke through the neutral zone and finished off the individual effort by scoring on the wrap-around. DeBrincat picked up the lone assist on the goal at 7:07.
DeBrincat picked up his third point of the period extending his league lead in points – and goals – scoring his 37th of the season, from Darren Raddysh and TJ Fergus, at 16:15.
Shots on goal in the first period of play weighed heavily in the Otters favour, as the hosts outshot the Rangers 12-2.
Darren Raddysh made it 4-0 at the 7:51 mark of the second period, assisted by Kyle Pettit and Christian Girhiny. The goal gave Raddysh the all-time lead in career points by a defenceman in Otters franchise history, passing Chris Campoli (2000-2004).
Raddysh’s marker was the lone goal scored in the second period, which saw the Otters outshoot the Rangers 13-2 in the middle frame. Shots were 25-2 Erie after 40 minutes.
Taylor Raddysh registered his 28th goal of the season to give the Otters a 5-0 lead at 13:37 of the third period, from DeBrincat and Strome, to round out the game’s scoring.
Third period shots on goal were 12-9 Otters, for a game total of 37-13 Erie.
Kitchener was 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Otters were 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
With three successful penalty kills, Heffner Lexus Toyota graciously donates another $30 to the Heffner Lexus Toyota PK Tally for a running total this season of $1,490 in support of Sun Life Financial Kids in Gear.
Cameron Lizotte (ER) (3), Alex DeBrincat (ER) (2) and Darren Raddysh (ER) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Dylan Di Perna and Darby Llewellyn each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers captain Frank Hora.
The Rangers are back at the Aud on Friday night, January 27th, when they host the North Bay Battalion for the lone time this season 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.