Jeremy Bracco’s torrid pace to start this Ontario Hockey League season continued on Sunday afternoon in Guelph.
Bracco tallied a pair of assists, while his linemate Adam Mascherin was in on all of Kitchener’s offence with a goal and two assists, as the Rangers defeated the Storm 3-2 in front of 3,642 fans in attendance at the Sleeman Centre.
The two assists increase Bracco’s point total to 17 (6G, 11A) in just six games, as the playmaking winger has registered at least a point in every game played to start the season.
Bracco and Mascherin have combined for an impressive 35 points (10G, 25A) while dressing for six and eight games, respectively.
When asked post-game what Mascherin credits to his offensive success to this point, his answer was simple.
“Good linemates,” stated the Maple, ON native. “I’m playing with the best playmaker in the league [Bracco] and Mason Kohn, who works his tall off out there every night. It’s not hard to find success when you’re playing with guys like that.”
The win sees the Rangers go 2-1-0-0 over the weekend which had them play once at home and twice on the road in a span of two-and-a-half days. Mascherin noted that while it would have been nice to come away with three wins, the team was happy with the results from Sunday.
“When you play three games in less than three days you need to make sure you’re doing what you can to stay healthy and take care of your body. It was an important win for us today and these two points could come up big for us later in the season.”
Dawson Carty got the nod in goal for the Rangers (6-2-0-1), making 25 saves for the win while improving his record to 6-0-0-1. Liam Herbst took the loss for the Storm (3-6-0-1), allowing three goals on 21 shots.
It was the second meeting in a week between the two Highway 7 rivals and some animosity between the two teams showed, as eleven combined power play opportunities were had on the day leading to three power play goals.
Darby Llewellyn got the Rangers on the board first after scoring on a pretty cross-crease feed by Bracco. It was the fourth goal of the season for Llewellyn, coming at 7:17 of the first period with Mascherin picking up the second assist.
It was the lone goal of the period, which saw the Rangers outshoot the Storm by a 12-5 margin.
With the Rangers on the power play, Mascherin blasted a wrist shot on a pass from Bracco to net his fourth of the season. Greg Meireles picked up the second assist on the goal which came just 1:10 into the second period to give Kitchener a 2-0 lead.
The Storm cut the Rangers lead to 2-1 with a power play marker of their own as Isaac Ratcliffe scored his third goal of the season, from Ryan Merkley and Albert Michnac at 7:53.
Before the period was out the Rangers two-goal lead would be restored, as Mason Kohn’s third goal of the season made it 3-1, from Mascherin and Dylan Di Perna on the power play, at 16:16.
Merkley once again made things interesting for the Storm as he scored his second of the season with just 1:24 to play to cut the Kitchener lead to 3-2. With the Rangers dealt a two-minute minor inside of a minute to play, the Storm elected to pull their goaltender in favour of the extra attacker, but the Rangers would hold on for the 3-2 win.
Second period shots favored Guelph 15-5, and 7-4 in the third for a game total of 27-21 for the Storm.
Kitchener was 2-for-6 on the power play, while Guelph was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.
With four successful penalty kills, Heffner Lexus Toyota graciously donates another $40 to the Heffner Lexus Toyota PK Tally for a running total this season of $360 in support of Sun Life Financial Kids In Gear.
Bracco (KIT) (3), Ratcliffe (GUE) (2), and Mascherin (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Darby Llewellyn, Dylan Di Perna, and Adam Mascherin each wore “A’s” and skated as alternate captains for the Rangers.
The Rangers are back on the road on Thursday, October 20 when they meet the London Knights for the first time this season for a 7pm start. They’re home next Friday, October 21, when they host the Hamilton Bulldogs for the lone time this season. Game time is 7:30pm.
Regular season tickets are $22.50 each for adults, $18.50 for children 12 and under, including HST and are available now in person or by calling the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Box Office or Centre in the Square (519) 578-1570 -or- 1-800-265-8977, or by purchasing online.