Rangers return from the break with road win over divisional foe
The Kitchener Rangers began the second half of their 2017-18 campaign with an excellent road effort, skating to a 5-1 win over the Owen Sound Attack in front of 3,162 fans at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre on Thursday night.
Joseph Garreffa – back to playing forward after the return of defenceman Connor Hall to the lineup – led the way offensively for the Rangers (22-11-2-0), tallying a goal and two assists while being named the game’s First Star.
Playing the Attack has certainly suited him, as the Toronto native has registered at least a point in all six meetings vs. Owen Sound so far this season, totalling a lofty 14 points (3G, 10A).
Rickard Hugg and Connor Bunnaman (PPG) each had a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts, while Adam Mascherin tallied a two-point night.
Mascherin may have seen his goal scoring streak ended at nine games, but his 12-game point streak continues with 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points.
He is just one game shy of tying a career best 13-game point streak set last season (November 4 – December 7, 2016) when he registered carbon copy-like numbers (12G, 9A) over that span.
Greg Meireles (PPG) and Jack York were the other goal scorer for the Rangers.
The eighth place Attack saw their record drop to 14-14-1-4, but they maintain a five-point lead in the western conference standings over the ninth place Erie Otters who fell 4-2 to the Oshawa Generals.
Luke Richardson (15-8-1-0) was brilliant in goal for Kitchener, turning aside 27 of the 28 Owen Sound shots strewn his way, and wasn’t beaten in over 51 minutes of tonight’s action.
Olivier Lafreniere (4-9-0-1) was saddled with the loss, surrendering five goals on 27 shots while still searching for his first win as a member of the Attack (0-2-0-1).
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead just past the midway point of the opening period, as Meireles notched his 10th of the season on the power play. Mascherin was high-sticked and cut, so the Blueshirts were awarded a four-minute double minor.
With the puck in the Owen Sound zone, Logan Stanley held the line then found Hugg at the side of the net. Hugg met Meireles with a pretty feed who beat Lafreniere at 10:57.
Just over a minute later Garreffa made it a 2-0 game, scoring his seventh of the season, from Mascherin and Bunnaman, at 13:05.
With seconds to play in the opening period the Rangers took a 3-0 lead as Hugg registered his fourth of the season with a potent one-timer, from Cole Carter and Garreffa at 19:16.
Shots on goal during that first period heavily favoured the Rangers, 14-4.
Garreffa’s third point of the night came just 3:38 into the second period as he took the puck deep into the attacking zone on a Kitchener power play and found Bunnaman with a thread-the-needle pass from beneath the goal line. Bunnaman’s 16th of the season extended the Rangers lead to 4-0, and was the lone goal of the middle frame. Mascherin earned the secondary assist on the goal.
The Attack led in shots during the second period, but the Rangers maintained a 19-14 lead through 40 minutes.
With just over a half period remaining in the third, the Rangers were called for high-sticking then for delay of game just 20 seconds later, giving the home side a two-man advantage for 1:40.
After killing off the first penalty the Rangers managed to do the same with the second. Their second penalized player retreated from the box but didn’t have time to get back into the play before Markus Phillips took advantage of a failed clearing attempt and beat Richardson with a shot from the point to spoil the shutout bid with just 8:34 to play, unassisted.
The Rangers would answer back with another goal of their own before the final buzzer sounded, as Jack York notched his third of the season with a shot from the point that found the back of the net, unassisted, at 15:55 to round out the games scoring.
Final shots on goal were 28-27, Owen Sound.
The Rangers finished the game 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Attack were 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
Connor Bunnaman (KIT) (3), Rickard Hugg (KIT) (2), and Joseph Garreffa (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Kole Sherwood, Adam Mascherin, and Logan Stanley each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
The Rangers return to The Aud in short order, taking on the Erie Otters tomorrow night, Friday, December 29 for a 7:30pm start. They’ll be off for the rest of the weekend until Monday, January 1, 2018 when they make their lone trip of the season to Peterborough to take on the Petes at 2pm. They’ll host another Eastern Conference opponent, the Barrie Colts, on Tuesday, January 2 at 7pm.
Regular season tickets to all Kitchener Rangers home games are $23.00 each for adults, $19.00 for children 12 and under including HST, and are available in person or by calling the Activa Box Office at The Aud, from Centre in the Square (519) 578-1570 -or- 1-800-265-8977, or by purchasing online.
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