Flint, MI: It was a chippy, fast-paced affair in Michigan on Saturday night but the Rangers got back into the win column with a 6-3 win against a gritty, though undisciplined, Flint Firebirds team.
Riley Damiani put the Rangers on his back heading into the third period and finished the game with three points. Rickard Hugg also picked up three points, all assists, and is now tied with Joseph Garreffa for most points on the team with 12.
Lucas Pfeil stopped 29 of Flint’s 31 shots to pick up his first win of the season in what was an impressive comeback performance after his loss at home to Sudbury.
The Kitchener Rangers (5-1-2-0) visited Flint to face the Firebirds (0-9-0-0) in their second tilt of the season. The Rangers dominated the Firebirds in the opening game of the season, winning 6-2 in what was a very one-sided affair.
On this night, however, the Rangers suffered from a flat start for the second night in a row. At just 1:05 of the 1st period, C.J. Clarke, on a two on none break, put one past Pfeil to put the Firebirds up 1-0.
The fast-paced period featured some undisciplined play from both sides, but particularly from Flint, who went a man down three times in the period.
Despite that, Kitchener mustered just 7 shots the entire period and the OHL’s number-one powerplay was shutdown by the OHL’s worst penalty kill. The period ended with Flint ahead 1-0 on 12 shots.
For the second-straight period, Flint came out flying. Connor Roberts picked up his first goal of the season and the Firebirds went up 2-0.
The bleeding stopped there for Kitchener.
A flurry of goals by Greg Meireles (4), Jonathan Yantsis (5) and Nick McHugh (2) quickly put the Rangers on the right end of the scoresheet for the first time on the road trip.
Hugg and Eric Guest both picked up two assists on the goals, while Justin MacPherson and Meireles picked up one each.
The undisciplined play continued throughout the period with each team receiving four penalties.
Incredibly, the Rangers had 24 shots in the second period alone. It was an onslaught kept at bay by some fine goaltending by Flint’s Luke Cavallin.
Pfeil had an outstanding close to the period and kept the Rangers’ 3-2 lead safe going into the third and final frame.
The wildness of the game was just warming up going into the final frame.
Kitchener native, Eric Uba (3), scored for the Firebirds who, once again, dominated the first half of the period and made the game 3-3.
That’s as close as Flint would come to picking up their first win of the season. Riley Damiani netted his fourth of the season not even 40 seconds after the game-tying goal by Uba.
Yantsis followed up just four minutes later with his second of the game and sixth of the season to put the Rangers up 5-3.
Kitchener sealed the deal on a 5-on-3 powerplay when Damiani, who finished the game with two goals and one assist, put the Rangers ahead 6-3.
The Rangers piled on the shots yet again in the third period with 16 shots on goal. Overall, Flint was outshot 47-31 on what ended up being an exciting game in the Great Lakes state.
The Rangers return to action against the Sarnia Sting on Sunday, October 14 at 5:30 pm. The Rangers play again at home on Friday, October 19 to take on their division rival, the Guelph Storm. The puck drops at 7:30 pm.
Tickets still available for all regular season home games. Purchase yours in person at the Activa Box Office at The Aud or Centre in the Square Box Office, by phone (519) 578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977, or online.
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