Nine different goal scorers propelled the Owen Sound Attack (1-0) to a convincing 9-1 victory over the Kitchener Rangers (0-1) in Game 1 of their best-of-seven opening round playoff series at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre on Friday night.
The Attack led 2-0 after 20 minutes of play, but broke the game wide open with a five-goal second period in front of 3,035 fans at the Bayshore. Seven different members of the Attack registered two or more points to give the Attack the 1-0 series lead, which resumes in short order tomorrow night, right back at the Bayshore at 7:30pm for Game 2.
Luke Opilka started in goal for the Blueshirts but suffered the loss, allowing seven goals through the first 40 minutes of play while turning aside 28 shots. Luke Richardson came into the game at the onset of the third period and was tagged for two goals on 15 shots.
Michael McNiven wasn’t nearly as busy as his Rangers’ goaltending counterparts but nonetheless picked up the win, making 24 saves on 25 shots.
The Attack opened the scoring at 7:33 of the first period on a goal by Jonah Gadjovich to give the hosts a 1-0 lead, with the lone assist to Sean Durzi.
With under five minutes to play in the opening frame Kevin Hancock extended the Attack lead to 2-0, from Nick Suzuki and Santino Centorame at 15:19.
Through the first 20 minutes of play the Attack led the Rangers in shots, 14-11.
In the opening moments of the second period there appeared to be an upcoming delay of game penalty on McNiven, but instead it was ruled that the puck was touched by a Rangers player and the call was negated. Minutes later, Kitchener was whistled for a check from behind on Jacob Friend to the right of McNiven on the far boards, and on the ensuing power play the Attack capitalized.
Maksim Sushko made it 3-0 from Ethan Szypula and Durzi at the 4:30 mark of the second period then quickly thereafter it was 4-0 Attack, as just over two minutes later Petrus Palmu was set up by Szypula and Centorame at 6:43.
Once again the Attack added to their lead within a two-minute span, as Cordell James put the Attack up 5-0 at 8:25, with the lone assist to Palmu.
The Rangers looked as if they were about to finally get a break, as a Matt Schmalz high-sticking penalty at 14:43 would give Kitchener a power play opportunity, but 22 seconds later it was Suzuki instead who capitalized shorthanded to give Owen Sound a 6-0 lead, unassisted, at 15:05.
The Attack would add yet another before the period was out – their fifth goal of the frame – to make it a 7-0 game on the stick of Santino Centorame, assisted by Hancock and Suzuki, at 19:02.
Shots on goal in the second period of play were 21-9 Owen Sound for a two-period total of 35-20.
Just 2:45 into the third period Rangers forward Connor Bunnaman was assessed a match penalty for slew-footing and was ejected from the game, which presented the Attack with a five-minute power play opportunity. While on the major man advantage, Owen Sound padded their lead to 8-0 with their eighth different goal scorer of the evening – Szypula – from Palmu and Centorame at the 6:29 mark.
Cole Carter broke the shutout bid for McNiven at 13:58, getting the Rangers on the board with an unassisted goal, but the home side responded less than a minute later to make it 9-1 on a goal by Schmalz, from Durzi and Trenton Bourque, at 14:49 to round out the high scoring affair.
Third period shots on goal favoured the Attack 15-5, for a game total of 50-25 Owen Sound.
Kitchener was 0-for-2 on the power play, while Owen Sound was 2-for-6 with the man advantage.
With four successful penalty kills, Heffner Lexus Toyota graciously donates another $40 to the Heffner Lexus Toyota PK Tally for a running total this season of $2,060 in support of Sun Life Financial Kids in Gear.
Petrus Palmu (OS) (3), Nick Suzuki (OS) (2), and Santino Centorame (OS) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Dylan Di Perna, Jake Henderson and Darby Llewellyn each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Frank Hora.
Tickets to the first two Kitchener Rangers’ home playoff games (Games ‘A’ & ‘B’) of Round One are on sale now 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.
A reminder to Season Ticket Holders that pre-purchased playoff packages that tickets can be picked up at the Aud Box Office this weekend; Saturday from 10am-8pm and Sunday from 11am-5pm.
Owen Sound Attack (3) vs. Kitchener Rangers (6) – Attack lead series 1-0
Game 1 – Friday, March 24: Owen Sound Attack 9; Kitchener Rangers 1
Game 2 – Saturday, March 25: Kitchener at Owen Sound – 7:30pm
Game 3 – Monday, March 27: Owen Sound at Kitchener – 7pm
Game 4 – Wednesday, March 29: Owen Sound at Kitchener – 7pm
*Game 5 – Friday, March 31: Kitchener at Owen Sound – 7:30pm
*Game 6 – Sunday, April 2: Owen Sound at Kitchener – 7pm – (note time change from 2pm)
*Game 7 – Tuesday, April 4: Kitchener at Owen Sound – 7pm