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Rangers earn second win of the preseason over Steelheads

 

As much as the story of their previous meeting on Sunday was all about special teams, tonight was all about the ‘special’ play of each team’s goaltenders.

Chris McGonigle stopped 31 of 32 shots he faced and earned the game’s first star as the Kitchener Rangers defeated the Mississauga Steelheads 3-1 in front of a crowd of 575 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto in OHL preseason action on Wednesday night.

McGonigle and his counterpart – Mississauga’s Jacob Ingham – stole the show, as the two made save after impressive save throughout the game, drawing cheers – and sometimes jeers – from the mixed crowd of both Rangers and Steelheads fans.

It was a penalty-filled affair but both goaltenders kept their respective teams in the game, as the Rangers would finish the night going 1-for-9 on the power play, while the Steelheads finished 1-for-8 . Despite the effort, Ingham was saddled with the loss, allowing three goals on 27 shots.

The Rangers looked poised to open the scoring with just under five minutes to play in the opening period when Mason Kohn created a shorthanded break, but was stopped by Ingham.

Just a few seconds later the Rangers finally broke through, as Adam Mascherin found Nick McHugh open in the slot who fired home a one-timer to make it 1-0 Kitchener at 15:33.

Shots were 13-7 Mississauga in the opening frame, with McGonigle coming up big for the Blueshirts on many of the Steelheads shots on net in the first.

Once again in the second period the Steelheads allowed a shorthanded break against, this time with Mascherin breaking in the zone, but again Ingham was up to the task and made the stop at 5:29 of the period.

As the second was winding down it was Connor Bunnaman who gave the Rangers a two-goal cushion, burying a pretty bank-hand, top shelf glove-side on Ingham, assisted by Frank Hora and Joseph Garreffa at 16:09.

Shots were 11-9 Kitchener in the second, for a two-period total of 22-18 Mississauga.

The Rangers wasted little time widening the lead to 3-0 in the third period, as Mascherin scored on a Kitchener 5-on-3 from Cedric Schiemenz and Elijah Roberts at 1:01.

Yet another of McGonigle’s impressive stops on the night came early in the third period, as he stymied a Steelheads forward at the side of the net with a cross-crease, sliding glove save while the Rangers were killing a 5-on-3 of their own.

Mississauga would finally get on the board with a power play marker, as Ryan McLeod made it a 3-1 game at 7:50, assisted by Owen Tippett and Michael McLeod.

The Steelheads would pull Ingham in favour of an extra skater in an effort to erase the two-goal deficit, but the Rangers would hold on for their second victory in as many games in the preseason.

Third period shots were 10-9 Mississauga for a game total of 32-27.

Jacob Ingham (MIS) (3), Adam Mascherin (KIT) (2), and Chris McGonigle (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.

Elijah Roberts, Jake Henderson, and Nick McHugh each wore “A’s” and skated as alternate captains for the Rangers.

The second and final home exhibition game for the Rangers will be Friday, September 9th as the Niagara IceDogs come to town for a 7:30pm start. Tickets to this game will be available in person at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Box Office, and in person or by phone through the Centre in the Square Box Office. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children (12 and under).

The Rangers close out the preseason schedule when they travel to Beamsville to take on the IceDogs the following afternoon, Saturday, September 10th at 3pm.

The 2016-17 OHL regular season kicks off with the Rangers hosting the Flint Firebirds on Friday, September 23rd at 7:30pm. Regular season tickets are $22.50 each for adults, and $18.50 for children 12 and under, including HST.

Tickets are available now at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Box Office, Centre in the Square, and online.

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