Radek Faksa scored the game winner as the Kitchener Rangers defeated the Mississauga Steelheads 3-2 on Tuesday night. Matt Puempel and Justin Bailey also recorded goals for the Rangers, who remain undefeated at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium this season.
The Steelheads opened the scoring 3:36 into the first period, when Bobby MacIntyre’s shot from the circle soared past the blocker of Rangers netminder Franky Palazzese. The rookie’s first career Ontario Hockey League goal was assisted by Grant Syrette and Dylan DeMelo.
Kitchener led shots on goal 13-12 through 20 minutes.
The Rangers evened the score early in the middle frame after Matt Puempel’s scored team-leading 13th goal of the season. With the teams playing 4-on-4, the veteran forward fired a puck off the end boards that bounced off Mississauga goaltender Spencer Martin and in. The Essex, ON native’s third in two games was assisted by defencemen Ryan Murphy and Evan McEneny.
Justin Bailey put Kitchener ahead 2-1 just past the seven-minute mark of the second period. The American pivot forced a turnover along the boards and moved the puck to linemate Josh Sterk. Martin made the initial save, but Bailey was there to shovel in the rebound and collect his fifth goal of the season. Brent Pedersen also picked up an assist on the play, giving the trio of draft-eligible forwards a combined total of five goals and seven assists in their last five games played.
Kitchener added a third goal in the latter half of the period to push their lead to 3-1. Import forward Radek Faksa lifted a high shot past Martin to pick up his sixth of the year and third against the Steelheads this season. McEneny earned his second point of the night with a helper, while Eric Ming was also credited with an assist.
The Rangers continued to lead shots on goal in the second period by an 11-6 margin.
Mississauga cut into Kitchener’s lead early in the third period. Kristoff Kontos carried the puck over the Rangers’ blueline and pitched a forehand shot over the left shoulder of Palazzese. The fourth-year centre’s fourth goal of the season was assisted by winger Damian Bourne.
The Steelheads out-shot the Rangers 11-5 in the final frame but were unable to complete the comeback. Each team fired 29 total shots on goal and Palazzese made 27 saves in his second consecutive victory.
With the victory, the Rangers remain undefeated through seven games this season at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium and improve their overall record to 11-5-1-1.
1. MISS B. MacIntyre, (1) (G. Syrette, D. DeMelo), 3:36
2. KIT M. Puempel, (13) (R. Murphy, E. McEneny), 1:17
2. KIT J. Bailey, (5) (J. Sterk, B. Pedersen), 7:03
2. KIT R. Faksa, (6) (E. McEneny, E. Ming), 12:11
3. MISS K. Kontos, (4) (D. Bourne), 1:07
1. KIT – 73 Matt Puempel
2. KIT – 95 Justin Bailey
3. MISS – 16 Kristoff Kontos
The Rangers home stand continues Friday, November 9, when the team hosts the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at 7:30pm for our Annual Remembrance Day Game. Tickets 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.