Adam Mascherin’s 20th goal of the season was the overtime winner as the Kitchener Rangers (19-10-2-0) rallied for another come-from-behind win, this time 5-4 over the Flint Firebirds (9-17-3-0) in front of 6,720 fans at The Aud on Friday night.
The goal at 3:41 of the overtime frame made it six straight games with a goal for the Rangers leading scorer, who has now potted nine goals and ten points over that span.
The Rangers punched their ticket to overtime via a late goal by Greg Meireles with just 1:25 left to play in regulation. The Ottawa native was promoted to the top line by head coach Jay McKee prior to tonight’s game and made the most of the opportunity playing with Mascherin and Kole Sherwood, registering his eighth goal of the season and adding an assist.
It was the first time Sherwood faced his former club, and while the winger may have been snake bit points-wise, he certainly made his presence felt with six shots on goal.
Logan Stanley also made an impact on the Blueshirts win, factoring in with three assists on the night.
Riley Damiani, Adam Liška and Nick McHugh were the other goal scorers for the Rangers.
Chris McGonigle (1-2-1-0) started the game in goal for the home side, but was pulled in favour of Luke Richardson (12-7-1-0) following three first-period goals. Richardson stood tall after coming into the game at the eight-minute mark, ultimately turning aside 30 of 31 shots faced while earning the game’s Third Star.
Garrett Forrest (8-12-3-0) took the loss in goal for the laboring Firebirds, allowing five goals despite making 33 saves.
The Rangers were the ones to open the scoring, as Damiani buried a rebound off a Stanley point shot to give the home side a 1-0 lead at 3:33. Joseph Garreffa picked up the second assist.
Liška was left alone in front of the Firebirds goal and made his opportunity count, outlasting and fooling Forrest with a deke in front of the crease to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead, from Cole Carter, at 5:49.
But then the Firebirds came on, as Jalen Smereck scored the first for Flint at 6:04 assisted by C.J. Clarke, then Ty Dellandrea made it 2-2 just 42 seconds later, from Hakon Nilsen and Hunter Holmes, at 6:46.
At the 8:00 mark they took the lead, 3-2, as Nikita Alexandrov scored his first Ontario Hockey League goal, from Maurizio Colella and Hunter Holmes, which ended the night of McGonigle in favour of Richardson.
That would end the five-goal first period, with the Rangers outshooting the Firebirds, 13-12.
Near the midway point of the second period Kitchener would tie the game after McHugh broke a nine-game goalless streak to tally his fifth of the season, from Jonathan Yantsis and Eric Guest at 9:56.
Flint regained the lead, 4-3, at 14:11 when Ryan Littlejohn notched his second of the season, from Jake Durham and Holmes, to make it 4-3 and round out scoring in the middle frame.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes of play favoured the Rangers, 25-23.
With just 1:25 left to play, Meireles would bury his eighth of the season, from Connor Bunnaman and Stanley which would eventually send the game to extra time.
Shots through regulation were 35-32, Kitchener.
At the 3:41 mark of overtime Mascherin kept the goal-scoring streak alive, potting his 20th of the season, from Stanley and Meireles, to give the Rangers the 5-4, come-from-behind win.
Final shots on goal favoured Kitchener, 38-37.
The Rangers weren’t awarded a power play opportunity on the night, while the Firebirds were 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Luke Richardson (KIT) (3), Jalen Smereck (FLT) (2), and Adam Mascherin (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Kole Sherwood each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
The Rangers round out their weekend on Sunday, December 10 when they travel to the Sleeman Centre to take on the Guelph Storm 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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