Rangers win streak halted; fall 5-3 to Frontenacs
“It’s not the end of the world.”
Those were the sentiments of head coach Mike Van Ryn following the Kitchener Rangers 5-3 loss to the Kingston Frontenacs in front of 4,775 fans at the K-Rock Centre on Saturday night.
The skipper was of course alluding to the fact that the Rangers (13-1-0-3) may have dropped their first game in regulation of the 2015-16 campaign, but by no means should they hang their heads and spend a prolonged amount of time dwelling on the loss.
“You’re not going to win them all, you just gotta realize that,” Van Ryn noted post-game. “In the beginning it seemed like our guys were fighting it a little bit. It wasn’t from a lack of effort, I could see that. It was just one of those nights where we didn’t show them our best.”
It was an uphill climb for the Rangers almost right out of the gate, as the Frontenacs (11-5-1-1) took a 2-0 lead under five minutes into the game, and were up 3-0 by the midway point of the first period. It was the first time the Rangers trailed by two goals or more this season.
Lucas Peressini picked up the win in goal for the Fronts, stopping 31 of 34 shots the Rangers directed his way. Luke Opilka faced 38 shots, the second highest total he’s seen this season only to Windsor’s 40 back on October 9th, and made 33 saves.
Mason Kohn led the way offensively for the Rangers tallying a pair of goals, while defenceman Brian Brosnan came away with a goal and an assist.
“They were solid, but I think we could have done more,” said Brosnan after the loss. “There were times tonight when we started to look like ourselves out there, but we just didn’t manage to put a full game together. If we had done that, I think things could have ended a little differently.”
Fellow veteran Brandon Robinson said the team obviously isn’t happy about the loss, but like Van Ryn, had a rational response to the outcome.
“[A loss] was bound to happen. No team is going to go undefeated. We just have to get over this one on the bus ride back and be ready for Tuesday.
We’ll go over video tomorrow and see what we did wrong and what we need to clean up, but like I said, it’s one loss. We had a good run there, and now it’s time to start a new run on Tuesday.”
Spencer Watson gave the Frontenacs the early 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the first period, assisted by Nathan Billitier. It was just the second time in 17 games that the Rangers hadn’t scored the open goal of the game.
Just 1:26 later it was Austin Grzenia with his first OHL goal to put the Fronts up 2-0 at 4:51, assisted by Roland McKeown and Chad Duchesne. McKeown struck at 9:09 from Juho Lammikko and Duchesne to extend the Kingston lead to 3-0, adding to the Rangers early deficit.
Nearing the end of the first period Joseph Garreffa nearly picked up his first career OHL goal with a shot in close that went off the post, but Kohn was on the doorstep and pounced on the rebound, beating Peressini to cut the Kingston lead to 3-1. Garreffa and Darby Llewellyn earned the assists on the goal at 18:38 to close out the first period scoring. The Frontenacs held a 13-10 edge in shots after 20 minutes.
McKeown would tally the lone goal of the second period, his third point of the night, with a power play goal at 15:05 from Jason Robertson and Warren Foegele. The Frontenacs would take a 4-1 lead into the second intermission after largely outshooting the Rangers 20-6 in the middle frame.
The Rangers responded with a goal of their own just 3:57 into the third period, as Kohn notched his second goal of the night amidst a scramble in front of Peressini, assisted by Sean Allen and Brosnan. The Frontenacs once again regained a three-goal lead as Grzenia scored his second of the game from Cody Caron and Ted Nichol at 9:51 to make it 5-2.
Brosnan picked up his second goal of the season at 18:03 of the third from Gustaf Franzen with Opilka pulled from the net, but it was as close as the Rangers would come as the Frontenacs would hold on for the 5-3 win. The Rangers battled back in the third period to outshoot Kingston 18-5 in the final frame. Final shots were 38-34 Frontenacs.
The Rangers were 0-for-2 with the man advantage, while the Frontenacs potted the eventual game winner on the power play, going 1-for-2.
Brosnan, Ryan MacInnis and Frank Hora each wore ‘A’s and skated as assistant captains for the game.
Duchesne (3), Grzenia (2) and McKeown (1) were chosen as the Three Stars of the game.
The Rangers return to home ice on Tuesday, November 10th when they host their annual Remembrance Day game versus the Sarnia Sting at 7pm. The Rangers will be wearing commemorative Remembrance Day jerseys which will be silent-auctioned from 5:30pm until ten minutes following the end of game in the Subscribers Lounge in the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex.
Tickets for the Rangers game are available online at kitchenerrangers.com, by calling Centre in the Square, or through The Aud Box Office.