Guelph, ON: For the second time in three days, the Rangers and Storm faced off in a midwest division clash, this time in the Royal City.
It was a back-and-forth first frame as Guelph’s Nate Schnarr opened up the scoring on a Rangers giveaway in front of Luke Richardson. Shortly after it was Jonathan Yantsis earning his eighth of the season on a poweplay goal. Guelph, on a powerplay of their own, took the lead back thanks to Luke Ratcliffe and then, finally, Kitchener knotted the game up on a Rickard Hugg goal and that’s how the first would end. 2-2.
30-seconds into the second, Schnarr scored his second of the night on a breakaway and once again, the Storm went up by a goal, 3-2. The score would stay that way until the final few minutes of the period when the Storm scored their second powerplay goal of the night to go up 4-2 after 4o-minutes of play.
The third period featured just one goal, an empty-netter by Ratcliffe, which made the game 5-2 and that’s how it’d end for the Rangers.
You just knew this game would be a high-octane affair at the Sleeman Centre after the intensity of Friday night’s 5-0 walloping given by the Rangers (6-4-2-0) to the Storm (7-4-1-0) and, sure enough, it was.
Kitchener’s lineup looked a bit different at game-time on Sunday as they were without the presence of Connor Hall or Nick McHugh who were both out of the lineup due to injury.
After some slower left to right play to begin the game, at 9:05 of the first, Schnarr capitalized on a giveaway by the Rangers in front of their own net and that gave Guelph the early advantage, 1-0.
Shortly after, Storm captain Isaac Ratcliffe took a cross-checking penalty and the league’s fourth-best powerplay went to work. At 12:54, on assists from Joseph Garreffa and Greg Meireles, Yantsis scored his eighth goal of the season to knot the game up, 1-1.
Guelph made it 2-1 just four seconds into a powerplay they earned after a Michael Vukojevic tripping penalty, but no lead was safe in the first. The Rangers came roaring back with their second game-tying goal of the night thanks to a team-leading eighth goal of the season for Hugg, with assists from Riley Damiani and Chase Campbell.
The period ended 2-2 with Kitchener edging out Guelph in shots, 16-12.
It didn’t take much time for the excitement to pick up in the second period. Just 30 seconds into the frame, Schnarr got on a breakaway that he converted into his second goal of the game and just like that, it was 3-2.
The pace of play came way down for nearly the entire period and outside of a few post saves for Kitchener and a couple glove saves from Anthony Popovich, the Storm maintained their one-goal lead.
It wasn’t until the last three minutes of the period that any more scoring happened. Owen Lalonde put away his first of the season on a powerplay goal at 17:09 to put the Rangers’ Hwy. 7 rivals up 4-2. That’s how the second period would end.
Guelph led in shots 26-23.
Kitchener began the third period on a powerplay after a scrum that happened once the horn went to end the second. Donovan Sebrango had some powerful shots on net but Popovich stood tall and kept the two-goal advantage.
The third period was a mirror of what it was Friday: aggressive and chippy.
Both teams took their fair share of penalties yet no goals were scored until an empty net last-minute insurance goal by Ratcliffe, his second of the game. The game ended 5-2 with the Storm outshooting the Rangers 41-33.
Kitchener returns to action on Friday, October 26 at 7:30 pm, at home versus the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds.
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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