After a scoreless first period and a 3-3 tie game in the third, it was the Erie Otters (27-9-2-1) who would come out on top, outlasting the Kitchener Rangers (22-14-2-1) for a 6-3 win in front of 3,035 fans at the Erie Otters at the Erie Insurance Arena on Tuesday night.
Both teams saw the debut of new players in their lineups as the dust settled after the OHL’s trade deadline at noon earlier today.
Andrew Burns and Cole Carter donned Rangers colours for the first time, with Carter dressing in his first OHL game since December 8th. Carter would register his first point as a member of the Blueshirts on a Connor Bunnaman goal in the second period.
Joseph Garreffa and Darby Llewellyn were the other goal scorers for the Rangers, who are back in action on the road Thursday night in Windsor.
Troy Timpano (25-4-0-0) picked up his 25th win of the season, as the Otters remained undefeated in regulation on home ice this season. Timpano surrendered three goals on 15 Rangers shots.
Luke Opilka (6-7-1-0) was dealt the loss, making 23 saves on 29 shots.
After a scoreless opening period it was Garreffa who got his team on the board first, registering his 13th of the season, from Adam Mascherin and Dylan Di Perna, to put the Rangers up 1-0 at 11:12.
The lead was short lived, however, as Warren Foegele made it a 1-1 game with his 14th of the season at 12:14, with the lone assist to Gera Poddubnyi.
Just over three minutes later Alex DeBrincat tallied his 33rd goal of the season five seconds into an Otters power play, giving Erie a 2-1 lead at 15:33, from Dylan Strome and Kyle Pettit.
The home team took a two-goal lead less than a minute after the goal by DeBrincat, as Strome picked up his second point of the night, assisted by Darren Raddysh and TJ Fergus at 16:11.
The game appeared poised to head to the second intermission with the Rangers in a two-goal hole, but a heads-up play by Nick McHugh to drive into the Erie zone would tell a different story. With time ticking down in the frame McHugh found Darby Llewellyn, who beat Timpano with 0.4 seconds on the clock to cut Erie’s lead to 3-2, with the primary assist to Giovanni Vallati.
Shots on goal were 10-5 Erie in each of the first two periods for a total of 20-10 after 40 minutes.
Bunnaman notched his 19th of the season to pot the equalizer for the Rangers, making it a 3-3 game from Carter and Mascherin, a power play marker at 4:14 of the third period.
Taylor Raddysh would regain the lead for the Otters at 7:31 – the eventual game winner – from Mitchell Byrne, making it 4-3 Erie at 7:31.
Kyle Maksimovich added to the Otters lead, scoring the insurance marker at 11:59 from Taylor Raddysh and Anthony Cirelli before the final goal of the game was scored on the stick of DeBrincat, his second of the game and 34th of the season, at 17:57 from Strome and Taylor Raddysh.
Third period shots on goal favoured the Otters 9-5 for a game total of 29-15 Erie.
Kitchener would finish 1-for-5 on the power play, while Erie was 1-for-3 on the man advantage.
With two successful penalty kills, Heffner Lexus Toyota graciously donates another $20 to the Heffner Lexus Toyota PK Tally for a running total this season of $1,290 in support of Sun Life Financial Kids in Gear.
Alex DeBrincat (ER) (3), Dylan Strome (ER) (2) and Taylor Raddysh (ER) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Dylan Di Perna and Darby Llewellyn each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers captain Frank Hora.
The Rangers are on the road again in Windsor on Thursday (Jan. 12) before returning back home to the Aud to host the Barrie Colts for the lone time this season on Friday, January 13th at 7:30pm.
Regular season tickets to Kitchener Rangers home games are $22.50 each for adults, $18.50 for children 12 and under, including HST and are available in person or by calling the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Box Office or Centre in the Square (519) 578-1570 -or- 1-800-265-8977, or by purchasing online.