A sweep would have been nice, but there are still many positives to focus on if you’re cheering for the Kitchener Rangers.
The Windsor Spitfires claimed a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 4 of their best-of-seven Western Conference series in front of 3,334 fans at the WFCU Centre on Wednesday night.
The Rangers now lead the series 3-1 with Game 5 scheduled for Friday, April 1st at 7:30pm at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex.
Purchase your tickets online, in person at the Centre in the Square and Aud Box Office, or by the phone by calling (519) 578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977.
The Rangers led 2-0 halfway through the game, but found themselves down 4-2 with nearly five minutes left to play in regulation by way of a major penalty in which newly returned Brendan Lemieux made his presence felt.
But trailing late in the game, the Rangers showed resilience and battled back to tie the game with two goals in a 1:46 span to send the game to overtime.
The Spitfires would keep their playoff hopes alive with a power play goal by Bradley Latour at 10:19 of the extra frame to send the series back to the Aud for a Game 5.
To open the scoring, Logan Stanley was called for tripping just 37 seconds into the game and the Rangers pounced, taking the lead on a smooth Adam Mascherin tip-in from Jeremy Bracco, his second of the post-season, to give the Rangers an early 1:08 lead with Miles Liberati picking up the second assist.
Mascherin struck again with his second of the game with just 1:46 remaining in the frame to give the Rangers a 2-0 edge, from Darby Llewellyn and Mason Kohn, to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead at 18:14 heading into the first intermission.
Shots were 10-10 after the first period of play.
At 13:19 of the second period the play was blown dead on a Windsor offside, but a late shot on goal by Lemieux drew the ire of some Rangers on the ice. After a mix-up at the half boards, Lemieux was given a two minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the Rangers were dealt a five minute major for an apparent check to the head in which the Spitfires would use to their full advantage.
Lemieux got the Spitfires on the board with their first goal at 15:53, from Logan Brown and Bradley Latour on the power play, to make it 2-1. They would make it 2-2 on the same power play at 17:19, also by Lemieux, from Mikhail Sergachev and Brown, to make it 3-2.
Lemieux scored his third power play goal in 2:01 to give his team the lead on the extended power play just 35 seconds later, again from Sergachev and Brown, to take a 3-2 lead at 17:54, which is how the score would carry into the second intermission.
The Spitfires outshot the Rangers 13-1 in the second period.
Windsor took a two-goal lead when Bradley Latour was sprung on a breakaway and made it 4-2, from Hayden McCool, at 8:29.
With Mads Eller in the box for cross checking the Rangers weren’t quite able to capitalize with the man advantage, but they made it count shortly after as David Miller tallied his second of the postseason, from Dylan Di Perna and Connor Hall, at 14:52 to make it 4-3.
The Rangers would tie the game 4-4 as Gustaf Franzen tallied his second of the postseason, from Frank Hora and Hall, with just 3:22 to play in regulation.
The Spitfires would capitalize on an interference call at 9:16 of overtime, as Bradley Latour scored the game winner with Christian Fischer and Brown picking up the assists.
Final shots were 35-21 Spitfires, including 8-6 Windsor in the third period, and 4-4 in overtime.
Michael DiPietro was credited the win, allowing four goals on 21 shots. Dawson Carty was again sturdy for the Rangers in goal, making 30 saves in the loss.
The Rangers finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Spitfires were 4-for-5 with the man advantage.
Adam Mascherin (3), Bradley Latour (2) and Brendan Lemieux (1) were chosen as the Three Stars of the Game.
Frank Hora, Gustaf Franzen and Brandon Robinson each wore ‘A’s and skated as alternate captains to Rangers captain Ryan MacInnis.
The Rangers will return to the Aud to host Game 5 of the best-of-seven quarter-final series on Friday, April 1st at 7:30pm. Tickets will be available at 10am on Thursday, March 31st by calling Centre in the Square at (519) 578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977, visiting the Aud Box Office, or going to kitchenerrangers.com.
(4) Kitchener Rangers vs. (5) Windsor Spitfires
Best-of-7 Quarter-Final Series
Kitchener leads 3-1
Game 1 – Thursday, March 24th – Kitchener 6; Windsor 5 OT
Game 2 – Saturday, March 26th – Kitchener 6; Windsor 4
Game 3 – Monday, March 28th – Kitchener 2; Windsor 1
Game 4 – Wednesday, March 30th – Windsor 5; Kitchener 4 OT
*Game 5 – Friday, April 1st, 7:30pm at Kitchener
*Game 6 – Sunday, April 3rd, 2pm at Windsor
*Game 7 – Tuesday, April 5th, 7pm at Kitchener