Josh Leivo scored and added an assist in his first game with the Kitchener Rangers, helping the team to a 6-2 victory over the Guelph Storm on Tuesday night. Josh Sterk recorded three assists, while Brent Pedersen and Eric Ming each added two points for the Rangers. Goaltender Joel Vienneau made 35 saves in his first start since joining the team in a trade with the Sudbury Wolves.
Justin Bailey’s ninth of the season opened the scoring for the Rangers at the 7:54 mark of the first period. Rookie winger Darby Llewellyn chased down the puck at the end boards and found Curtis Meighan behind the net with a backhand pass. The sophomore centre moved it in front for Bailey, who beat Storm netminder Keegan Wilson with a quick shot. The draft-eligible forward has goals in back-to-back games.
The Rangers out-shot the Storm 18-12 in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Kitchener jumped to a 2-0 lead six minutes into the middle frame. Second-year winger Brent Pedersen snapped a long shot past Wilson to record his fifth of the year. Josh Sterk and Eric Ming each earned an assist on the Arthur, ON native’s goal. With the helper, Ming extends his current streak to three points in three games.
The Storm got on the board just over two minutes later when Jason Dickinson jumped on a puck in front of the Rangers net and slid it through the five-hole of newly acquired goaltender Joel Vienneau. The Guelph forward’s 13th of the year was assisted by Matt Finn and Brock McGinn.
Guelph led shots on goal by a narrow 8-7 margin in the second period.
The Rangers’ re-established a two-goal lead less than a minute into the third. Wilson turned aside the initial shot by Frank Corrado, but Matia Marcantuoni collected the rebound at the top of the crease and buried it into the open side of the net. The second assist on the play was credited to Joshua Leivo, giving both new additions their first points since arriving in a trade with the Sudbury Wolves early Tuesday.
Ben Fanelli added to Kitchener’s lead one minute later, gaining the puck at centre ice and carrying it all the way to the Wolves net. The veteran defenceman beat Wilson for his third of the season, with assists from Sterk (his second of the game) and captain Ryan Murphy.
Kitchener extended its advantage with two quick goals near the midway point of the frame. There was 12:30 remaining on the clock when Tobias Rieder collected the puck in the neutral zone and moved it ahead to Leivo deep in Storm territory. The veteran winger had a step on the defenceman and lifted a sharp shot over Wilson for his 20th of the year and first as a Ranger.
Twenty-nine seconds later, the Rangers struck again, pushing their advantage to 6-1. Sterk carried the puck in and moved it across the ice to Ming who bounced a shot over Wilson’s right pad. His eighth of the season was also assisted by Pedersen, his second point of the contest.
The Storm added a second goal with 8:45 left to play after forcing a turnover deep in the Rangers’ zone. Dickinson hammered a rebound by Vienneau for his second of the game, with an assist from Zack Mitchell.
Guelph led shots on goal 17-16 in the third, but Kitchener finished the game with a 41-37 overall advantage. Vienneau made 35 saves to earn his first win as a Ranger.
With the victory, the Rangers improve to 22-13-1-4 and take over third place in the Midwest Division from the Storm.
1. KIT J. Bailey, (9) (C. Meighan, D. Llewellyn), 7:54
2. KIT B. Pedersen, (5) (J. Sterk, E. Ming), 6:02
2. GUE J. Dickinson, (13) (M. Finn, B. McGinn), 8:29
3. KIT M. Marcantuoni, (5) (F. Corrado, J. Leivo), 0:42
3. KIT B. Fanelli, (3) (J. Sterk, R. Murphy), 1:42
3. KIT J. Leivo, (20) (T. Rieder), 7:30
3. KIT E. Ming, (8) (J. Sterk, B. Pedersen), 7:59
3. GUE J. Dickinson, (14) (Z. Mitchell), 11:15
1. KIT – 9 Tobias Rieder
2. KIT – 17 Joshua Leivo
3. KIT – 19 Josh Sterk
The Rangers hit the road on Thursday, January 10 when they visit the Peterborough Petes at 7:05pm. The team returns to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday, January 11 for a 7:30 meeting with the Sarnia Sting. Tickets to Rangers home games are available by phone at 519-578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977, via the internet at www.centre-square.com or in person at the Centre In the Square Box Office or the Kitchener Auditorium Box Office.