Ryan Murphy scored the game winning goal and added an assist, leading the Kitchener Rangers to a 3-2 win over the Guelph Storm on Sunday night. Matt Puempel and Josh Sterk also scored in the Rangers fourth consecutive win.
Matt Puempel opened the scoring for the Rangers, taking advantage on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. Captain Ryan Murphy carried the puck to the net before sending a pass to Puempel in the slot. The Ottawa Senators prospect lifted a shot high over the right shoulder of Guelph netminder Garret Sparks for his 23rd of the season.
The Rangers led shots on goal 14-9 through the opening 20 minutes.
The Storm responded early in the third period, pulling even on a penalty shot awarded to Tanner Richard. The Swiss born forward moved in deliberately before firing a quick shot through the five hole of Rangers starter Joel Vienneau. The shorthanded tally was Richard’s seventh goal of the season.
Just over two minutes later, the Rangers reestablished their one-goal advantage. Sophomore winger Brent Pedersen connected with Josh Sterk in the slot where the Georgetown native quickly settled the puck and fired a low shot past Sparks. His second goal in as many games was also his fifth of the season. Pedersen extended his recent point streak to three games with his assist.
The Storm pulled even late in the frame, leveling the score at 2-2. Tyler Bertuzzi dug out the puck from behind the Rangers net, finding Cody McNaughton at the top of the crease. His 11th of the season was also assisted by Patrick Watling.
Murphy restored the Rangers lead 73 seconds later, firing a long shot over the blocker of Sparks for his sixth of the season. The veteran blueliner has four points in his last two outings. With assists on the play forwards Joshua Leivo and Tobias Rieder each extend their recent point streaks to seven games.
Kitchener continued to out-shoot the Storm by a 14-10 margin in the second period.
Vienneau made 13 saves in a scoreless third period to preserve a 3-2 Rangers win. The Storm finished the game with a 32-31 overall advantage in shots on goal.
1. KIT M. Puempel, (23) (R. Murphy), 15:52 (PP)
2. GUE T. Richard, (7) (unassisted). 2:49 (SH/PS)
2. KIT J. Sterk, (5) (B. Pedersen), 4:56
2. GUE C. McNaughton, (11) (T. Bertuzzi, P. Watling), 16:34
2. KIT R. Murphy, (6) (J. Leivo, T. Rieder), 17:47
1. KIT – 24 Ryan Murphy
2. GUE – 17 Tyler Bertuzzi
3. KIT – 73 Matt Puempel
The Rangers return to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday, February 1 when they host the Owen Sound Attack at 7:30pm. 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.