Late goal extends Greyhounds win streak to 19 games
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds scored with 2.9 seconds remaining in regulation to secure their 19th straight win, stunning the Kitchener Rangers, 4-3, in front 6,931 fans at The Aud on Friday night.
The Rangers (20-11-2-0) skated to leads of 2-0 and 3-1 while holding the Greyhounds (28-3-2-0) to just nine shots on goal through more than half the game. When the visitors tied the game in the second half of the third period, the home side looked poised to take the game to extra time and, at the very least, muster a point. But Keeghan Howdeshell’s second goal of the game gave the Soo the regulation win, deflating the crowd with just a hair left on the clock.
Adam Mascherin opened the scoring for the Rangers, extending his goal-scoring streak to eight consecutive games. He’s registered eleven goals and 15 points during that span.
Rickard Hugg and Connor Bunnaman were the other goal scorers for the Blueshirts, who play the Greyhounds once more this season – again at The Aud – on Friday, March 9.
Luke Richardson (13-8-1-0) was saddled with the loss in goal for the Rangers, surrendering four goals on 32 shots while turning aside 28.
Matthew Villalta (20-2-1-0) picked up his 20th win, also making 28 saves.
After a scoreless first period which saw the Rangers outshoot the Greyhounds, 8-7, it was Mascherin who opened the game’s scoring with his 22nd of the season to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 7:59 of the second period. Kole Sherwood picked up the lone assist.
With the Rangers on the power play, speedy Greg Meireles raced into the offensive zone and was hauled down on a breakaway by a Greyhounds player, earning a penalty shot at 11:05. While taking the shot, he lost control of the puck and never managed to get a clear shot on Villalta, as the game remained 1-0, Kitchener.
Less than a minute later the Rangers would make up for the missed opportunity, as Hugg registered his third goal of the season to give the home side a 2-0 edge, from Joseph Garreffa, at 11:55.
Inside the final five minutes of play in the middle frame the Greyhounds found their way on the scoresheet, cutting the Rangers lead to 2-1 on a goal by Noah Carroll, his first of the season, from Morgan Frost at 16:09.
A bit of a blooper restored the Rangers two-goal lead, as a goal originally credited to Riley Damiani was later reviewed and given to captain Bunnaman, his 15th of the season from Jake Henderson and Damiani at 17:04 to make it a 3-1 game.
The Hounds cut the Rangers lead to 3-2 before the period was out just ten seconds into a power play opportunity, as Howdeshell tallied his first of the night, assisted by Mac Hollowell and Jack Kopacka, at 18:50.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes of play favoured the Rangers, 23-18.
Past the midway point of the third period it appeared Sherwood was on the receiving end of a Greyhounds high-stick, but no call was made and play continued. On the same shift the game was tied as Hollowell tallied his eighth of the season, from Barrett Hayton and Frost, at 13:50 to make it 3-3.
Howdeshell’s second of the night and 10th of the season sealed it for the Greyhounds with just over two seconds left to play, from Kopacka and Carroll, to round out the 4-3 final.
Final shots on goal ended 32-31, Sault Ste. Marie.
The Rangers were 0-for-1 on the power play, while the Greyhounds were 1-for-1 with the man advantage.
Adam Liška (KIT) (3), Mac Hollowell (SSM) (2), and Keeghan Howdeshell (SSM) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Cole Carter each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
The Rangers final game before the Christmas break happens Sunday, December 17 at The Aud when they take on the Kingston Frontenacs 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.
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