Final: Rangers 4, Otters 5 (SO)
Kitchener, ON: It was the second time inside a week that the Erie Otters (22-28-2-1) and Kitchener Rangers (25-24-3-1) were facing off and once again it was the visitors who bested the home-side as the Otters won in a shootout. 5-4.
Eric Guest, Reid Valade, Ryan Stepien, and Alexey Lipanov were the goalscorers for the Rangers and Luke Richardson stopped 34 of 38 in the loss.
FULL GAME REPORT
The first period between the Otters and Rangers didn’t feature any action on the scorecard. Not a penalty was given nor a goal was scored in a defensive period for both sides.
Daniel Murphy and Luke Richardson both made key saves — Murphy early in the period, Richardson late — to keep the game knotted at zero.
Jonathan Yantsis and Arber Xhekaj registered two shots each in the stalemate and the first would end with the Rangers slightly ahead in shots 10-9.
The Otters broke the deadlock just 1:06 into the second period. After a quality chance on Murphy, Jack Duff carried the puck down the ice before passing it to Petr Cajka who wristed a shot as he skated across the blue line that beat Richardson high, glove-side to make it 1-0 Otters.
At 12:29, Mike Petizian took a roughing penalty that, after a few words to the referees, turned into a 10-minute misconduct, which put the Rangers down a man for two minutes.
On the ensuing penalty kill, Eric Guest and Greg Meireles managed to find themselves on a two-on-none breakaway. Guest and Meireles played tic-tac-toe with the puck one too many times and it led to an errant attempt on goal by Meireles.
Fortunately for the Rangers, the bounce off the endboards ended up on Guest’s stick and his shot deflected off an Otters player in the crease, leading to a goal to make it 1-1 at 14:35.
Exactly two minutes later, Emmett Sproule gave the Otters back their lead to make it 2-1 for the visitors.
Then, at 18:16, Chad Yetman, on a wrap-around scored five-hole on Richardson to give Erie a two-goal lead heading into the second intermission, 3-1.
The Rangers were outshot through two periods of play, 22-16.
At 2:38 of the third period, Reid Valade had an attempt on net blocked, which sent the puck into the air and back onto Valade’s stick when it hit the ice. Valade proceeded to spin around an Otters defender and fire home his third of the season to make it 3-2.
Midway through the third, at 9:48, Michael Vukojevic and Donovan Sebrango linked up with Ryan Stepien to tie the game up 3-3.
Erie would strike back, however, and at 16:12 Brendan Hoffmann netted his 10th of the season to momentarily give the Otters their lead back 4-3.
Alexey Lipanov, with under three minutes left in the game, came streaking across the Rangers’ offensive blueline, split two defenders, and sniped home his 9th of the season to tie the game up, 4-4.
Justin MacPherson earned an assist on the game-tying goal.
The third period would end in a tie, 4-4 with the Rangers leading in shots 30-28.
In overtime, it was all Erie. The visitors outshot Kitchener 10-1 in the five minute period but Richardson rose to the occassion a number of times to force the game into a shootout.
In the shootout, Meireles was the Rangers’ lone goalscorer and Poddubnyi and Cajka scored for the Otters to give Erie the 5-4 win.
The Rangers next home game is on Friday, February 22 at 7:30 pm vs the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. The next road game for Kitchener is on Friday, February 15 at 7:30 pm vs the Guelph Storm.
Tickets still available for all regular season home games. Purchase yours in person at the Activa Box Office at The Aud or Centre in the Square Box Office, by phone (519) 578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977, or online.
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