Saginaw, MI: The Rangers played a hard-fought game in Saginaw in their second three in three test of the season. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they fell to the Spirit for the second time this season in a 2-1 final.
Luke Richardson continued to be a bright point for the Rangers, stopping 25 of 27 shots and keeping the Boys in Blue in the game until late in the third.
Joseph Garreffa also put in a noteworthy performance with one goal and numerous occasions where he forced the Spirit to makes mistakes and helped gain momentum back for the Rangers.
The Kitchener Rangers (5-2-2-0) finished off their three game north-western road swing against the Saginaw Spirit (6-2-1-0) in Michigan on Sunday evening.
Both teams came into the day leading their respective divisions in points and two of those points for Saginaw came in an overtime win against Kitchener at The Aud on October 5.
For the third time in as many nights, the Rangers let up an early goal to put them behind the eightball just 3:38 into the first period. The Spirit’s Nicholas Porco (8) scored on a 3-on-1 tic-tac-toe play that goaltender Richardson couldn’t get in front of.
At 10:19 of the first, Garreffa continued to demonstrate his ability to lead this Rangers team when he buried his fifth of the season to tie the game 1-1.
Rickard Hugg and Donovan Sebrango assisted on the goal and with the assist, Hugg remained tied with Garreffa for team-lead in points at 13.
The period ended with Saginaw up 10-8 in shots in what was a very evenly matched opening 20.
The second period saw both teams settle into the back-and-forth, gritty play that was brought to the Dow Center on Sunday evening.
The Spirit had a handful of chances in-close on Richardson, who is third in the league in goals against average at 2.32. But the Barrie native looked rested and locked-in from the opening puck drop and kept the Rangers in it.
Sebrango took two penalties at 0:16 and 9:58 and thankfully for him the OHL’s best penalty kill (1 goal in 22 opportunities) held strong.
Through two periods, the score remained 1-1 and the Spirit continued to outshoot the Rangers, leading 22 shots to 15 going into the third.
The final frame featured more of the same and despite the low scoring, the grittiness of the game kept both players and fans engaged.
Deep in the third frame, Spirit captain Damien Giroux scored to put Saginaw up for good. Bode Wilde and Albert Michnac picked up assists on the play and with that assist, Michnac extended his OHL-leading point streak to nine games.
The final shots were 24 for Kitchener and 27 for Saginaw.
The Rangers play again at home on Friday, October 19 to take on their division rival, the Guelph Storm. The puck drops at 7:30 pm.
Tickets still available for all regular season home games. Purchase yours in person at the Activa Box Office at The Aud or Centre in the Square Box Office, by phone (519) 578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977, or online.
Join the conversation on all things Rangers by using #RTown. You can follow the Rangers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @OHLRangers.
Click here to view the complete game summary.