The Kitchener Rangers looked poised to steal two road points from the host Erie Otters, but a late penalty in regulation gave the Otters new life.
Kyle Pettit capitalized with a power play goal with just 13 seconds remaining in the third period, then Dylan Strome would score the lone goal in a shootout as the Otters (44-11-1-0) came from behind for a 6-5 victory over the Rangers (38-12-5-1) in front of 4,934 fans at the Erie Insurance Arena on Sunday evening.
The Rangers (82) now trail the Otters (89) by six points in the Western Conference standings, and are three points back of the idle London Knights for second in the Midwest Division, and third in the conference.
Rangers head coach Mike Van Ryn was visibly upset post-game at the penalty assessed to the Rangers near the end of regulation, giving the Otters the power play opportunity and, ultimately, a 6-on-4 advantage after pulling their goaltender. He expressed the fact he thought his team was deserving of a different end result.
“It’s unfortunate when you could have a game won in regulation and then it has to go to a shootout,” said Van Ryn. “It’s disappointing.
“We needed this win, and it’s just an unfortunate way to lose a game, that’s all.”
Devin Williams earned his 100th regular season OHL win, improving his record to 35-6-1-0 after allowing five goals on 28 shots. Luke Opilka (26-7-3-0) took the loss in goal for the Rangers, making 27 saves.
Vanya Lodnia opened the game’s scoring at 2:54 of the first period, with assists from Pettit and Nick Betz. The lead would be short-lived, however, as Nick Magyar tied the game 1-1 just 1:53 later from Nick McHugh and Jacob Cascagnette.
On their first power play opportunity of the night the Rangers would take the 2-1 lead, as Ryan MacInnis tallied his first of the game, from Brandon Robinson and Adam Mascherin at 9:14.
David Miller would register the Rangers second power play goal in as many chances, beating Williams with a nice heads-up rebound in front from MacInnis and Frank Hora at 14:40. Shots were 9-6 in favour of the Rangers in the first period of play.
Strome would score his 30th goal of the season just 1:47 into the second period to cut the Rangers lead to 3-2, with Kyle Maksimovich picking up the lone assist. It would remain a one-goal game until the final moment of the period when Darren Raddysh tied the game 3-3 with a power play goal, assisted by Lodnia and Alex DeBrincat at 19:17.
With the game appearing to enter the third period in a 3-3 tie, it was MacInnis who tallied his second goal of the night and 34th of the season with just 17.6 seconds remaining in the frame, giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes. The Otters outshot the Rangers 13-5 in the second period for a two period total of 19-14 for the hosts.
As they did in the second period, the Otters would again strike within the opening two minutes of the third, as Jake Marchment scored his 21st goal of the season, from Darren Raddysh and Maksimovich, at 1:59 to make it a 4-4 game.
With just 1:38 remaining in regulation, Brandon Robinson beat Williams to give the Rangers a 5-4 lead, assisted by Miller, but the Otters would answer, yet again. With 32 seconds remaining, the Rangers were called for a two-minute minor for checking from behind, and Erie would pull Williams to play 6-on-4. Pettit would score his eighth of the season, from Strome and Maksimovich, on the power play at 19:47 to send the game to extra time.
After a scoreless overtime period, the game would head to a shootout, where the Rangers would shoot first, but were denied by Williams in each of their three attempts (MacInnis, Mascherin, Robinson). Strome was the first and only scorer for the Otters (DeBrincat), who would skate away with the 6-5 win.
The Rangers would finish 2-for-3 on the power play, while the Otters were 2-for-5 with the man advantage.
MacInnis (3), Lodnia (2) and Williams (1) were chosen as the Three Stars of the Game.
Gustaf Franzen, Frank Hora and Brandon Robinson each wore ‘A’s and skated as alternates to captain Ryan MacInnis.
The Rangers are back in action when they host the Guelph Storm on Tuesday, February 23rd at 7pm.
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.
1st – ER Vanya Lodnia (15) (Kyle Pettit, Nick Betz), 2:54
1st – KIT Nick Magyar (8) (Nick McHugh, Jacob Cascagnette), 4:47
1st – KIT Ryan MacInnis (33) (Brandon Robinson, Adam Mascherin), 9:14 (PP)
1st – KIT David Miller (10) (Ryan MacInnis, Frank Hora), 14:40 (PP)
2nd – ER Dylan Strome (30) (Kyle Maksimovich), 1:47
2nd – ER Darren Raddysh (8) (Vanya Lodnia, Alex DeBrincat), 19:17 (PP)
2nd – KIT Ryan MacInnis (34) (Adam Mascherin, 19:42
3rd – ER Jake Marchment (21) (Darren Raddysh, Kyle Maksimovich), 1:59
3rd – KIT Brandon Robinson (14) (David Miller), 18:22
3rd – ER Kyle Pettit (8) (Dylan Strome, Kyle Maksimovich), 19:47 (PP)
SO – KIT Ryan MacInnis (X)
SO – ER Dylan Strome (GOAL)
SO – KIT Adam Mascherin (X)
SO – ER Alex DeBrincat (X)
SO – KIT Brandon Robinson (X)