If you don’t know, now you know; the Kitchener Rangers are officially on a roll.
Adam Mascherin scored twice and Joseph Garreffa had himself a four-point night (4A) as the Rangers (13-6-2-0) won their second straight game against a divisional rival by downing the Guelph Storm (10-9-0-2), 7-5, in front of 6,983 fans at The Aud on Friday night.
Kole Sherwood, Nick McHugh and Jonathan Yantsis each had a goal and an assist in the win, while Logan Stanley added a pair of assists. Connor Bunnaman (PPG) and Cole Carter also etched the scoresheet for the Rangers, who led 4-0 in the second period, and 6-3 after 40 minutes of play.
Garreffa’s second career four-point game comes exactly a year to the day after he accomplished the feat for the first time in his career; a two-goal, two-assist effort against the Peterborough Petes on November 17, 2016. Equally impressive, Garreffa finished the night with a team-high plus-3 rating.
Luke Richardson (7-5-1-0) backstopped the Rangers to their second straight win, and seventh straight game earning at least a point. Kitchener has picked up 13 of a possible 14 points in those last seven games, and sees their lead in the Midwest Division grow to four points over the idle Owen Sound Attack.
Anthony Popovich (10-8-0-1) suffered the loss in goal for the Storm, surrendering three Rangers’ goals on 11 shots before being pulled just over two minutes into the second period in favour of Nico Daws. He would allow four goals on 19 shots in over 33 minutes played.
In the first period, after more than half a period of scoreless hockey, the Rangers struck twice less than a minute apart to gain the first lead of the game.
During 4-on-4 play Sherwood broke into the offensive end and, using Storm defender Garrett McFadden as a screen, wired one past Popovich to put the Blueshirts up 1-0. Garreffa and Stanley picked up the assists at 14:11.
Just 41 seconds later the Rangers struck again as Mascherin, in on a 2-on-1 with Sherwood, elected to shoot and found the back of the net to make it 2-0 Kitchener. That goal also came during 4-on-4 play and was assisted by Stanley and Garreffa at 14:52.
The Rangers registered 10 shots on goal in the first period of play while holding the Storm to just two.
Bunnaman gave Kitchener a 3-0 lead just 2:17 into the second period which signalled the end of the night for Storm starter Popovich, and in came Daws.
The Rangers welcomed him to the game by scoring on their second shot against him, extending their lead to 4-0 just over a minute later. Yantsis tallied his first of the season from the front of the crease after one-timing a pass from McHugh. Mike Petizian earned the second assist on the goal, which came at 3:32.
Finally, the Storm would find their way on the board, however, as Isaac Ratcliffe cashed in his own rebound to make it a 4-1 game, from Mason Primeau, at 5:49.
They cut the deficit in half just over two minutes later, as rookie scoring leader Cam Hillis notched his eighth goal of the season at 7:52, from James McEwan and Dmitri Samorukov, to make it a 4-2 game.
McHugh restored the three-goal lead for the Rangers at 12:13, after being sprung by Yantsis and beat Daws far side to make it 5-2, Kitchener.
The teams would exchange power play goals before the already high-scoring period was out, as McEwan, from Cedric Ralph and Alexey Toropchenko at 14:47, made it 5-3.
Mascherin’s second of the night, also a power play marker – finally rounded out second period scoring and gave Kitchener a 6-3 lead, from Garreffa and Riley Damiani. Mascherin’s cannon of a shot came from the top of the left circle and found the top, far-side corner at 16:37.
Shots through 40 minutes of play favoured the Rangers, 24-14.
There was much less excitement to start the third period than the second, but the Rangers would eventually add to their lead in a rather unorthodox way.
Cole Carter got credit for his fourth of the season after he put the puck on net, but it took a wild bounce off of Daws and found the back of the twine. The unassisted goal came at 8:37 and extended the Rangers lead to 7-3.
The rest of the game’s scoring was by McEwan, who tallied his second of the night at 15:34 from Tag Bertuzzi and Barret Kirwin to make it 7-4, then completed the hat trick on the power play, from Kirwin and Samorukov at 17:30, to close out the 7-5 game.
Final shots on goal were 30-25, Rangers.
The Rangers and Storm would each finish the game going 2-for-4 with the man advantage.
Jonathan Yantsis (KIT) (3), James McEwan (GUE) (2), and Joseph Garreffa (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Kole Sherwood each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
Kitchener continues its three-in-three weekend when they take on the Colts tomorrow afternoon at the Barrie Molson Centre. The game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet at 3:30pm ET. They close out the busy weekend when they host the Peterborough Petes for the lone time this season on Sunday for a 6pm start.
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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