Matt Puempel’s 100th career Ontario Hockey League goal was the game winner as the Kitchener Rangers defeated the Oshawa Generals 2-1 on Sunday night. Puempel scored both Kitchener goals, lifting the team to its fifth straight victory.
Both goaltenders were perfect through the opening 20 minutes of the contest. The Generals out-shot the Rangers 14-6 but were unable to beat Kitchener starter John Gibson.
Oshawa jumped in front 27 seconds into the second period, capitalizing on a man advantage to take a 1-0 lead. Gibson stopped Boone Jenner with a pad save, but the puck bounced to Michael Dal Colle in the slot. The rookie forward potted the rebound, his eighth of the season. The second assist was credited to overage rearguard Matt Petgrave.
The Rangers evened the score with Matt Puempel’s team-leading 15th of the season. His quick wrist shot from a distance soared over the blocker-side shoulder of Generals netminder Daniel Altshuller. The goal came at the 6:39 mark of the middle frame and was assisted by defenceman Evan McEneny, his fourth point in his last three contests.
Puempel’s second of the game pushed Kitchener in front with less than seven minutes remaining in the second. With the teams playing 4-on-4, Matia Marcantuoni broke free and raced into the Generals zone with Puempel in pursuit. The veteran forward tracked the puck to the Oshawa net and batted a rebound out of midair to collect his 16th of the year and 100th career OHL goal. Captain Ryan Murphy also assisted on the play.
Kitchener led shots on goal in the middle frame with a 13-12 advantage.
The Rangers held on to a 2-1 lead through the scoreless third period to collect their fifth consecutive victory. The Generals applied heavy pressure at the net in the final 20 minutes, out-shooting Kitchener by a 10-3 margin, but Gibson made 35 total saves to pick up his 11th win of the season.
The victory improves the Rangers’ record to 13-5-1-1.
2. OSH M. Dal Colle, (8) (B. Jenner, M. Petgrave), 0:27 (PP)
2. KIT M. Puempel, (15) (E. McEneny), 6:39
2. KIT M. Puempel, (16) (M. Marcantuoni, R. Murphy), 13:27
1. KIT – 73 Matt Puempel
2. OSH – 71 Michael Dal Colle
3. KIT – 35 John Gibson
The Rangers return to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday, November 16 for a 7:30 game against the Erie Otters. 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.