The Kitchener Rangers (4-1-2-0) headed north, undefeated in regulation and sitting in first place in the Western Conference, to play the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (5-3-1-0), who began the night in third in the West.
This was the first game the Rangers and Greyhounds played against one another since the OHL Western Conference final last season; a series the Sault ended up winning in seven games to hoist their first Wayne Gretzky Trophy in 25-years.
It didn’t take long for the Greyhounds to strike. Just 1:08 into the first period, Cole MacKay buried his fourth of the season, setting the pace for the rest of the period.
The Rangers pressure didn’t let up the entire first frame, outshooting their rivals 12-8. Greg Meireles had a terrific opening period and would have tied it up had it not been for multiple outstanding saves by Matthew Villalta.
WIth 3:08 left in the first, the Sault’s Mac Hollowell, on one of their few shots in the latter half of the period, went top corner on Luke Richardson’s blocker-side to put the Greyhounds up 2-0 and that’s how the period came to an end.
The second period featured more back-and-forth play from both sides but unfortunately for the Rangers, Vallalta was having an exceptional night between the pipes.
At 16:36, after relentless pressure, Keeghan Howdeshell scored his third of the season to put the Greyhounds up 3-0.
The Sault outshot Kitchener 13-3 in the second and went ahead 23-15 in overall shots.
The 3rd period featured more back-and-forth play and game-saving goaltending from Vallalta.
It took until 16:09 of the final period for the Rangers to break the shutout for the Greyhounds. Rickard Hugg put home his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
But with one minute left and Richardson pulled, Barrett Hayton tapped in his second goal of the season to seal a 4-1 win for the Greyhounds.
Shots on goal ended up favouring the Greyhounds 30-28.
The Rangers return to action against the Flint Firebirds on Saturday, October 13 at 7:00 pm. The Rangers play again at home on Friday, October 19 to take on their division rival, the Guelph Storm. 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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