Kitchener Rangers’ fans have longed to hear it:
The streak is over.
The Rangers (12-7-1-0) snapped a 14-game losing skid to their Midwest Division rivals the London Knights (7-10-2-0) dating back to the 2015-16 season, soaring to a 4-2 win in front of 6,507 fans on Tuesday night at The Aud.
When the lengthy Knights’ win streak against the Rangers began, Kole Sherwood earned an assist as a member of the Knights on January 19, 2016.
Tonight, Sherwood notched a hat trick (goals 4, 5 and 6 of the season) against the Knights – which included the game winner. On each of his goals the primary assist came from his linemate Adam Mascherin, who registered a trio of helpers on the night in the win.
Adam Liška was the other goal scorer for the Rangers, who yet again found themselves often playing a man down after surrendering seven power play opportunities to the Knights.
Rangers’ head coach Jay McKee said before the game the coaching staff was confident in the abilities of Luke Richardson in goal and they’d be going back to him to start tonight. Talk about a smart choice; the 18-year-old Barrie native was impressive from puck drop to the final horn, including making a penalty shot save on Alex Formenton in the first period, and a point blank save with less than 30 seconds to play in the second period when the game was deadlocked, 2-2.
Richardson (6-5-1-0) sees his record improve to above .500 for the first time this season, as he turned aside 31 of 33 Knights shots to earn the victory.
It was just the second regulation loss of the season for Joseph Raaymakers (6-2-1-0), who allowed four goals on 32 Rangers shots.
Just 4:59 into the game, Formenton was awarded a penalty shot after being taken down while attempting to take a shot while breaking into the Rangers zone, but was turned aside by Richardson.
The Rangers quickly responded with a goal of their own, as Sherwood gave Kitchener a 1-0 lead, from Mascherin and Logan Stanley, at 6:25.
Back-to-back penalties were called on the Rangers, who were forced to kill off a 5-on-3 disadvantage for 32 seconds. They escaped being two men down, but 39 seconds into the second penalty Formenton struck, evening things up at 1-1 from Cliff Pu and Evan Bouchard at 13:55.
Before the period was out the Rangers pressed, and a pretty play-making shift in the Knights zone paid off for the home side by a line that oozed tenacity and hard work all night. Liška buried his third goal of the season, from Cole Carter and Greg Meireles, at 17:38 to give the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Shots on goal in the first 20 minutes of play favoured Kitchener, 14-12.
Prior to the midway point of the second period the Knights once again took advantage of a power play situation, as the Rangers were whistled for their fifth infraction of the night. With just seven seconds left in the minor penalty Formenton once again tied the game for the visitors, 2-2, from Pu and Sam Miletic at 9:51.
The Knights were buzzing near the end of the middle frame, but Richardson came up with a point-blank, highlight reel save with just 24 seconds to play in the period to keep the game tied.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes of play were 23-19, London.
At 6:28 of the third period Knights’ forward Adrian Carbonara was called for tripping, then dealt another penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after firing the puck the length of the ice and into the Rangers net with Richardson out in favour of an extra attacker on the delayed call.
With a four-minute double minor to London it was the Rangers turn to seize the opportunity with the man advantage as Sherwood scored what would be the eventual game winner, from Mascherin and Joseph Garreffa, at 7:14 to make it 3-2, Kitchener.
Sherwood iced the game with just 2:53 left on the clock as he solidified the hat trick, putting the Rangers up 4-2, from Mascherin and Rickard Hugg, to round out the game’s scoring.
Final shots on goal were 33-32, London.
The Rangers would finish the game 1-for-4 on the power play while the Knights went 2-for-7 with the man advantage.
Evan Bouchard (LDN) (3), Adam Mascherin (KIT) (2), and Kole Sherwood (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Kole Sherwood each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
Kitchener plays its second of four games this week, kicking off a three-in-three versus the Guelph Storm on Friday, November 17th at 7:30pm at The Aud. They travel to Barrie to take on the Colts for a 3:30pm start which will be broadcast on Sportsnet. They round out the weekend when they host the Peterborough Petes for the lone time this season on Sunday 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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