The post-trade deadline edition of the revamped Kitchener Rangers made their debut on Thursday night, and they looked pretty darn good.
Givani Smith scored his first goal as a member of the Blueshirts and goaltender Mario Culina turned aside 20 of 21 shots he faced as the Rangers downed their heated Midwest Division rival, the London Knights (22-16-2-1), 5-1, in front of 8,944 fans at Budweiser Gardens.
The win snaps a two-game mini skid by the Rangers (26-13-2-0), who still have the debuts of Logan Brown and Michael Vukojevic to the lineup up their sleeve.
Logan Stanley scored twice in the first period for his second two-goal game of his OHL career; the first coming back on January 30, 2016, again versus the London Knights.
Culina earns his third win of the season (3-5-2-0), and picks up his first win with the Rangers in his first game.
Joseph Raaymakers (17-7-1-0) took the loss, allowing five goals on 32 shots.
Adam Mascherin and Mike Petizian were the other goal scorers for Kitchener, who face London again on Sunday evening at 6pm, this time back at The Aud.
Stanley opened the game’s scoring with his tenth goal of the season, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 3:51 with Nick McHugh earning the lone assist.
Just under four minutes later Stanley buried his second of the game, one-timing a shot from the ide of the net after a pass from Giovanni Vallati. Adam Liška picked up the second assist on the goal at 7:29.
It wasn’t until 9:04 into the game that the Knights registered their first shot on goal. Their second shot came at 10:53 and found its way into the back of the net as Cole Tymkin notched his sixth of the season, from Billy Moskal.
With 26 seconds remaining in the opening frame Smith tallied his first as a member of the Blueshirts, and ninth of the season, to restore the Rangers two-goal lead, 3-1, from Jack York and Mascherin.
Shots on goal through the first period of play heavily favoured Kitchener, 11-3.
Just before the midway point of the period Mascherin extended his team lead in goals with his 29th of the season. Connor Hall found Mascherin at the side of the net and the Maple native made no mistake, one-timing the puck into a yawning cage. Joseph Garreffa picked up the secondary assist on the goal at 8:21, which rounded out second period scoring.
Shots on goal after 40 minutes of play were 22-12, Kitchener.
The only goal of the third period came with just 16 seconds left to play as Petizian scored his second OHL goal, from Liška and Riley Damiani, to round out the 5-1 Kitchener win.
Final shots on goal favoured the Blueshirts, 32-21.
The Rangers and Knights were each 0-for-2 on the man advantage.
Adam Mascherin (KIT) (3), Cole Tymkin (LDN) (2), and Logan Stanley (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 face the Saginaw Spirit at the Dow Event Center on Saturday, January 13 at 7:05pm before returning home on Sunday, January 14 to once again take on the London Knights for a 6pm start.
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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