For the Kitchener Rangers, the mid-season break could not be coming at a better time.
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (16-14-3-0) exploded with a five-goal third period to convincingly hand the Rangers (23-5-4-0) an 8-5 defeat in front of 6,709 fans at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex on Friday night.
It’s the first time this season the Rangers have lost three straight games, albeit their first loss of the mini-skid to the Windsor Spitfires on December 13th was in overtime, picking themselves up a point.
After being tied 2-2 after one period and 3-3 after two, it was the Rangers who etched the scoresheet first in the final frame, taking a 4-3 lead on a goal by Elijah Roberts just over two minutes into the period. It was a shortlived lead, however, as the Greyhounds would score four consecutive goals and storm back to take a 7-4 lead en route to the win.
Joseph Raaymakers earned the win in goal for the Greyhounds, turning away 39 of the 44 shots the Rangers sent his way. Luke Richardson suffered the loss for the Rangers, allowing six goals on 35 shots. Liam Devine replaced him following the Soo’s sixth goal of the game with 7:15 remaining in the third period, giving up one goal on two shots.
Morgan Frost opened the scoring at 5:15 of the first period to give the Greyhounds a 1-0 lead from Bobby MacIntyre and Conor Timmins. Just over three minutes later they would take a 2-0 lead, as Jack Kopecka beat Richardson at 8:26 from Gustav Bouramman and Colton White.
The Rangers climbed back into the period after getting into an early hole, as Miles Liberati tallied his tenth goal of the season to make it 2-1 at 11:12 from Jeremy Bracco and Adam Mascherin on the power play. They tied the game on a Darby Llewellyn goal at 15:39 from Gustaf Franzen and Brian Brosnan to send the game to the first intermission in a 2-2 draw. Shots were 11-9 in favour of the Rangers through the first 20 minutes of play.
Mascherin gave the Rangers their first lead of the night at the 15:20 mark of the second period, assisted by Bracco. The lead was shortlived, however, as Blake Speers once again tied the game at 18:09 from Tyler Hore and Zach Senyshyn to close out the period tied 3-3. Shots were 28-22 Kitchener after 40 minutes.
Roberts got the offensive onslaught started in the third period with his second goal of the season at the 2:13 mark, assisted by David Miller and Dylan Di Perna. A power play goal by Senyshyn tied the game 4-4 with Tim Gettinger and Speers picking up the helpers.
Senyshyn scored again to regain the lead for the Greyhounds, beating Richardson just 2:22 later from Gabe Guertler and Hore.
Yet another power play goal, this time off the stick of MacIntyre, was the first of a pair of Greyhounds goals scored just 32 seconds apart to give Sault Ste. Marie a 6-4 lead – which was the eventual game winner – from Hore and Speers.
Hayden Verbeek from Waterloo native Boris Katchouk at 12:46 put the Greyhounds up 7-4, which ended the night of Richardson in favour of Devine. Franzen answered for the Rangers on the power play from Liberati and Bracco at 17:46 to make it 7-5 which seemed to breathe some life into the team and their fans, but Senyshyn would complete the hat trick and solidify the two points for his team with an empty net goal at 19:41, assisted by Guertler.
Both teams were 2-for-4 on the night with the man advantage.
Brosnan, Gustaf Franzen and Frank Hora each wore ‘A’s and skated as alternate captains for the game.
Bracco (3), Hore (2) and Senyshyn (1) were chosen as the Three Stars of the Game.
The Rangers return from the holiday break on Tuesday, December 29th when they host the London Knights for the first time this season at the Aud at 7:30pm.
Tickets for the Rangers next home game, or any other future Rangers home games are available online at kitchenerrangers.com, by calling Centre in the Square, or through The Aud Box Office.