Mascherin and MacInnis extend point streaks, Rangers take down East-leading Frontenacs
The Kitchener Rangers were told they needed to be better despite a winning result Friday night against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
And on Sunday afternoon, they were just that – much better.
Adam Mascherin and Jeremy Bracco each registered a goal and an assist and Luke Opilka made 30 saves as the Rangers (28-6-4-0) skated away with a 3-1 victory over the Kingston Frontenacs (25-12-2-1) in front of 7,112 fans at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex.
Mascherin (9-14=23) extended his point streak to 13 games, while Ryan MacInnis added an assist to earn a point in his 15th straight contest (9-13=22).
Mascherin has seen his linemates change during that span, but the proof of his versatility is in the pudding, as his right winger, Jeremy Bracco, also came away with a pair of points on the afternoon.
“I think we play well together,” he said of Bracco. “We live together, so maybe that carries over a little bit into on-ice play.”
Mascherin also touched on the fact that although the Frontenacs may have come into today’s game with fewer overall points, it’s still a positive to know you can beat a first place team.
“We showed we can compete with some high calibre teams in the league. It’s a big confidence boost for us to get a win like we did today, especially with the guys Kingston has on their roster.”
It was a much more complete effort in the minds of the coaching staff as opposed to what the Rangers showed on Friday night, and Rangers assistant coach Daniel Tkaczuk elaborated on what their team did better today, following the game.
“From faceoffs to our defensive game, there were a lot of positives,” said Tkaczuk. “We just liked the overall game. Our forwards were on the right side of the puck, and the compete level and effort from our players was more like what we’re looking for.
“Mistakes will happen at this level, but overall the effort was there and we were real happy about that.”
The last time the Rangers and Frontenacs met in Kingston back on November 7th, it was Kitchener who was coming in on short rest after taking on the Ottawa 67’s in the nation’s capital the night before. Today it was Kingston who was finishing up a span of three games in two-and-a-half days, and Tkaczuk says sometimes you get lucky if you can take advantage of the schedule when it leans in your favour.
“We had a rest advantage, for sure, compared to Kingston. They were in Owen Sound last night, but I was happy with the way our team responded. There’s no such thing as home ice advantage if you don’t win at home, so I was glad we were able to capitalize and play on our toes and actually use the way the schedule worked out today to our advantage.”
After a scoreless first period which saw the Rangers outshoot the Frontenacs 14-11, Brandon Robinson would open the game’s scoring at the 6:07 of the second period. Mascherin gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead at 11:49, assisted by Gustaf Franzen and Bracco.
Shots were 17-9 in favour of Kitchener in the second period of play, for a two period total of 31-20.
Bracco would give the Rangers a 3-0 edge at 12:46 of the third period, with the assists going to Mascherin and Brian Brosnan. The Frontenacs managed to get on the board just 1:16 later with a goal by Jacob Paquette from Michael Dal Colle and Chad Duchesne, but it was the only time they would beat Opilka as the Rangers skated away with the 3-1 victory.
Opilka improved his record to 19-3-2-0 with the win, while Lucas Peressini took the loss and fell to 17-10-2-1 on the season, allowing three goals on 34 shots.
Neither team was successful scoring on the power play, as the Frontenacs went 0-for-3 while the Rangers were 0-for-4.
Frank Hora (3), Opilka (2) and Mascherin (1) were chosen as the Three Stars of the Game.
MacInnis, Brosnan and Hora each wore ‘A’s and skated as alternate captains for the game.
The Rangers return to game action on Tuesday when they travel to the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre to take on the Owen Sound Attack for a 7pm start. They’re back at the Aud on Friday night, January 15th when the Mississauga Steelheads make their one and only visit to town this season.
During the first intermission of today’s game, the Sun Life Financial Kids in Gear Charity Drive Car Draw was held, with Kristin S. winning a brand new 2016 Toyota Corolla Sport.
Prior to the game, a ceremonial puck drop took place acknowledging a donation by the Rangers in the amount of $10,000 to KidsAbility.
Tickets for the Rangers next home game, or any other future Rangers home games are available online at kitchenerrangers.com, by calling Centre in the Square, or through The Aud Box Office.