Garreffa the OT hero as Rangers outlast Wolves
Joseph Garreffa’s ninth goal of the season was the overtime winner as the Kitchener Rangers (39-17-2-0) downed the Sudbury Wolves (14-36-8-0), 3-2, in front of 7,105 fans at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday night.
It was the first home game in 17 days for the Rangers, who had a stretch of five straight games on the road, but also saw their game scheduled for Friday, February 9 vs. the Sarnia Sting postponed due to weather.
Kole Sherwood and Connor Bunnaman were the other goal scorers for the Blueshirts, who embarked on their first of four straight games at home; all over the span of eight days.
Luke Richardson (21-11-1-0) got his first start since February 3 and earned the win, turning aside 22 of 24 Wolves’ shots.
Jake McGrath (9-23-5-0) took the loss, surrendering three goals on 33 shots.
Shane Bulitka gave the Wolves a 1-0 lead, from Zack Malik and Drake Pilon, at 4:55 of the first period.
It was the lone goal of the opening 20 minutes, which saw the Rangers outshoot the visiting Wolves 13-10.
Sherwood tied things up for the home side just shy of the midway point of the game, as he registered his 26th of the season to make it a 1-1 game at 8:26, assisted by Adam Mascherin and Logan Stanley.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes of play favoured the Blueshirts, 23-16.
The Wolves began the third period on the power play as the Rangers were whistled for interference as the buzzer sounded at the end of the second period, and Sudbury would capitalize.
The visitors regained the lead just 48 seconds into the third period on a goal by David Levin, from Kyle Rhodes and Malik, making it a 2-1 game.
But the Rangers would once again even things up with a power play goal of their own as Bunnaman tallied his 22nd of the season to make it 2-2 at 3:42, from Sherwood and Riley Damiani.
That’s how regulation would end, as the game headed to overtime with shots favouring the Rangers, 32-23.
Garreffa ended it early with his ninth goal – and 52nd point – of the season just 38 seconds into overtime to cap off the victory.
Garreffa’s shot was the only one of the extra frame, ending the game with a 33-23 edge in shots for Kitchener.
The Rangers were 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Wolves were also 1-for-2 with the man advantage.
David Levin (SBY) (3), Riley Damiani (KIT) (2), and Joseph Garreffa (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Logan Brown each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
The game also marked the return of former Rangers defenceman Doug Blaisdell to The Aud. The veteran blueliner spent more than four season as a member of the Blueshirts, and sits ninth all-time in regular season games played in franchise history by a defenceman with 232.
The Rangers are back in action Sunday when they take on the Ottawa 67’s here at The Aud at 2pm.
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.
Join in the conversation on all things Rangers by using #RaiseTheShield. You can follow the Rangers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @OHLRangers.