Guelph, ON: For the second year in a row, the Rangers (5) and Storm (4) began their Western Conference Quarter-Finals against one another. Guelph had 10 different scorers on Friday night in what ended up being a 4-2 victory for the home team to take a 1-0 series lead.
Greg Meireles and Cole Cameron both scored for the Rangers and Justin MacPherson picked up third-star honours with two assists. Luke Richardson stopped 29 in the loss.
FULL GAME REPORT
The game’s first infraction came to the Rangers when Reid Valade took a hooking penalty at 5:12.
On the powerplay, a Dmitri Samorukov shot from the point was deflected by Nate Schnarr past Luke Richardson to give the Storm the early lead, 1-0, at 5:33.
The Storm kept the pressure on and it paid off towards the end of the period. A mess in front of the net led to Zachary Roberts sliding a puck past Richardson, who was on his back, at 16:24 to make it 2-0.
The Rangers were outshot through the first 20 minutes of play, 19-3.
Guelph extended their lead at 5:36 of the second period when Alexey Toropchenko deked around a Rangers defender and backhanded the puck past the outstretched pad of Richardson to make it 3-0.
Despite getting their first powerplay of the game midway through the period, the Rangers OHL-leading powerplay couldn’t capitalize on the man-advantage.
The second period would end with the Storm still up in shots, leading 24-11.
At exactly one minute of the third period, the Rangers finally got on the scoreboard. Justin MacPherson, on an odd-man break with Greg Meireles, passed cross-ice and the Rangers leading point scorer during the regular season tapped the puck into a wide-open net to make it 3-1.
Joseph Garreffa also assisted on Kitchener’s first goal of the postseason.
With 8:33 left in the third period, after a flurry of chances, Cole Cameron scored his first goal of the entire season on a wraparound that beat Anthony Popovich to bring the Rangers within one, 3-2.
MacPherson and Riley Damiani earned assists on the goal.
With 1:10 left in the game and Richardson pulled from his goal, Mackenzie Entwistle scored to put the Storm up 4-2 and that would be the game’s final score.
Guelph outshot Kitchener 33-24.
Click here for the game summary.
The Rangers return to playoff action on Sunday, March 24 for game 2 in Guelph at 2:00 pm. They return home on Tuesday, March 26 for game 3 of the Western Conference Quarter-Final at 7:00 pm. Click here for a complete schedule of games.
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