The Sudbury Wolves scored twice shorthanded en route to a 4-2 win over the Kitchener Rangers in front of 3,293 fans at the Sudbury Community Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Wolves (8-16-4-0), and gives the Rangers (15-9-2-0) three straight losses on their northern swing this weekend after winning four straight games of their own and eight of their last nine over the last two weeks.
Mario Culina (1-1-0-0) earned his first win of the season, turning aside 33 Rangers shots, allowing a pair.
Luke Richardson (8-7-1-0) was handed the loss, surrendering three goals while making 17 saves.
“We’ve got a lot of growing to do,” said Rangers head coach Jay McKee, following the 0-for-3 weekend. “We’re nowhere near where some of our players thought we were a week ago. We were coming off a string of games where things were going real well for us.
“Today’s loss is on the team as a whole; we’re just not good enough right now.”
For the third time this weekend the Rangers would surrender the game’s opening goal, and worse yet, did so while on the power play.
Drake Pilon gave the Wolves a 1-0 lead on just their second shot of the game, a shorthanded goal from Shane Bulitka and former Rangers defenceman Doug Blaisdell, at 9:38.
Sudbury would take the 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but it was the Rangers leading on the shot clock, 9-5.
Kitchener would tie the game less than a minute into the second frame as Rickard Hugg scored his first career Ontario Hockey League goal at the 37 second mark. His celebration was one of pure joy, but the reaction of his teammates was equally enthusiastic as Hugg’s goal draught finally ceased, with the lone assist to Connor Bunnaman.
The feel-good moment came crashing down with the Rangers once again on the man advantage, however, as the Wolves once again pounced with a shorthanded goal.
This time it was Drake Pilon’s twin brother Darian’s turn, as the winger scored a highlight reel goal from between his legs, potting the puck over the shoulder of Richardson to restore the one-goal lead for the home side at 4:35, unassisted.
But just under four minutes later the Rangers would battle back, as Adam Mascherin upped his team-high in goals to 12, from Kole Sherwood and Joseph Garreffa, to make it a 2-2 game at 8:11 on the power play.
Through 40 minutes of play, the Rangers outshot the Wolves 23-10.
The game winner came off the stick of Wolves captain Michael Pezzetta, his 12th of the season, from Troy Lajeunesse at 6:56 to make it 3-2. The home side added an empty net goal by Reagan O’Grady to round out the game’s scoring, assisted by Cole Candella, at 18:47.
Final shots on goal favoured the Rangers 35-21.
The Rangers were 1-for-5 on the power play while the Wolves were 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Darian Pilon (SBY) (3), Adam Mascherin (KIT) (2), and Mario Culina (SBY) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Jake Henderson each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
The Rangers play their fourth straight road game in Owen Sound against the Attack at the Bayshore on Wednesday, November 29 at 7pm before finally returning home to The Aud to host the Attack on Friday, December 1 at 7:30pm.
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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