Luke Richardson made 31 saves and backstopped the Kitchener Rangers (6-3-1-0) to a 3-2 win over the Saginaw Spirit (1-5-1-0) in front of 2,180 fans – including an enthusiastic group of supporters for Jake Henderson and Doug Blaisdell – at the Dow Event Center on Saturday night.
It was the first win of the season for Richardson, who held in tough for the Rangers while the team fought off a 2-0 deficit before scoring three unanswered goals for the come-from-behind win.
Despite their success the Rangers also battled adversity late in the third period, as the team was assessed – and successfully killed off – a four-minute double minor with the score tied 2-2 with just over five minutes to play. They also faced a 6-on-4 Saginaw advantage with just over half a minute remaining as Kitchener was shorthanded and the Spirit elected to pull their goaltender, Even Cormier, in favour of an extra attacker.
Cormier saw his record dip to 1-4-1-0, allowing three goals on 35 Rangers’ shots. The Rangers were outshot 12-5 in the opening 20 minutes, but came back to lead the shot clock 16-14 in the second period and 14-7 in the third for a game total of 35-33.
After a scoreless first period Saginaw opened the scoring on their 20th shot of the game as Brady Gilmour made it 1-0 at 6:10, the lone assist to Kyle Bollers.
Gilmour would strike again for the Spirit, scoring his second of the game, assisted by Ryan Stepien, at 14:23 of the second period to give the home side a 2-0 lead.
Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman would get the visitors on the board, as he tallied his second goal in as many nights at 15:57, from Rickard Hugg and Henderson, to cut the Spirit edge to 2-1 and round out second period scoring.
The Rangers cut into the Saginaw lead on the shot clock, 26-21, after 40 minutes of play.
Near the midway point of the third period the Rangers would tie the game, as Joseph Garreffa buried an Adam Mascherin pass in deep on a 2-on-2 play at 8:02.
With 5:50 to play the Rangers were assessed a four-minute double minor, but successfully killed off the lengthy Saginaw man advantage. Then, just 12 seconds after the Rangers were back to full strength, Bunnaman notched his second goal of the game to give the Rangers their first lead of the night, 3-2, with the assists to Riley Damiani and Logan Stanley with just 1:38 remaining.
With 52 seconds left in regulation the hosts pulled Cormier in favour of an extra attacker, and 20 seconds later were awarded yet another power play, skating with a 6-on-4 man advantage.
The Rangers would hold down the fort, however, killing off the remaining 32 seconds on the clock and skating to the 3-2 win.
The Rangers would finish the game 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Spirit went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
Stanley, Mascherin, and Connor Hall each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Bunnaman.
Garreffa (KIT) (3), Gilmour (SAG) (2), and Bunnaman (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
The Rangers close out their busy weekend in Flint when they face the Firebirds tomorrow, Sunday, October 15th at 4pm.
Their next game on home ice at The Aud is Friday, October 20th when they host the London Knights at 7:30pm.
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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