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Storm even series with 6-4 win over Rangers in Game 4

Dan Hamilton

 

Home ice will be a welcome sight for the Kitchener Rangers following a hellish pair of games this week at the Sleeman Centre.

The Guelph Storm scored four unanswered second period goals en route to a 6-4 win in front of 3,147 fans in Game 4 on Tuesday.

The best-of-seven series is now tied, 2-2, and becomes a best-of-three with Game 5 scheduled for Friday night at 7:30pm at The Aud.

Tickets for Game 5 are on sale now. Purchase options are listed below.

Much like the night prior, Wednesday’s tilt was back and forth – at least in the early going – and was another chippy affair between the two bitter Highway 7 rivals. And also like in Game 3, Kitchener dominated the shot clock – tonight, 43-20 – but it was once again the Storm who stunned the Rangers with their offensive prowess and ability to make the most out of their limited opportunities.

Joseph Garreffa scored a pair of goals for the Blueshirts on Wednesday, while Kole Sherwood stayed effective, potting a goal and an assist. Givani Smith was the other goal scorer for the Rangers, while Logan Brown figured in with a trio of helpers.

Anthony Popovich earned the game’s First Star after turning aside 39 shots, allowing four.

Mario Culina surrendered four goals on 13 shots in 31:20 of action before being replaced by Luke Richardson in the second period, who allowed one goal on six shots.

The game’s scoring opened at 6:03 of the first period as Isaac Ratcliffe tallied his second of the postseason, from Cam Hillis and Mark Shoemaker, to put the home side up 1-0.

Garreffa would tie the game, 1-1, with his second of the playoffs on the power play, assisted by Adam Mascherin and Logan Stanley at the 11:17 mark.

The Blueshirts went up 2-1 on Smith’s third of the playoffs, from Sherwood and Brown, at 13:25.

That would be how the game would look at the break, as the Rangers skated into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead on the score clock, along with a 19-8 edge on the shot clock.

But the second period was all Storm, as the home side would score four unanswered in the period.

It started with a goal by Liam Hawel as a Rangers penalty kill expired, from Ryan Merkley and Dmitri Samorukov, to make it 2-2 at 1:35.

They took the lead on Ratcliffe’s second of the game at 5:10, from Mark Shoemaker and Mark Woolley, then extended their lead to 4-2 on Keegan Stevenson’s first of the playoffs, from Merkley and Hillis, at 11:20.

Following the Stevenson goal, Richardson replaced Culina in the Rangers goal.

Garrett McFadden closed out the second period scoring parade by the Storm, making it 5-2 at 14:11 from Hawel and Stevenson.

Shots on goal after 40 minutes of play read 28-19, Kitchener.

The Rangers breathed new life once the puck dropped in the third period, however, as the red-hot Sherwood scored his fifth point of the series, from Brown and Connor Bunnaman at 5:46.

Garreffa’s second of the night came early in a Kitchener power play, cutting the Guelph lead to 5-4, from Mascherin and Brown, at 8:01.

With 4:19 to play the Rangers were awarded a power play opportunity but weren’t able to capitalize. They then pulled Richardson in favour of an extra attacker, but again failed to tie the game as the Storm held on for the 6-4 win and found themselves back in the series.

The Rangers were 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Storm were 0-for-3 with the man advantage.

Joseph Garreffa (KIT) (3), Isaac Ratcliffe (GUE) (2), and Anthony Popovich (GUE) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.

Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Logan Brown each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.

Tickets to all Kitchener Rangers home playoff games are $24.00 each for adults, $20.00 for children 12 and under including HST. They 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 here. Fans can also find more information about playoff tickets here.

Join in the conversation on all things Rangers by using #RaiseTheShield and #OHLPlayoffs. You can follow the Rangers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @OHLRangers.

 

Western Conference Quarter-Final
(2) Kitchener Rangers vs. (7) Guelph Storm
Series tied 2-2

Game 1 – Friday, March 23: Guelph Storm 2 at Kitchener Rangers 7
Game 2 – Sunday, March 25: Guelph Storm 1 at Kitchener Rangers 2
Game 3 – Tuesday, March 27: Kitchener Rangers 5 at Guelph Storm 7
Game 4 – Wednesday, March 28: Kitchener Rangers 4 at Guelph Storm 6
Game 5 – Friday, March 30: Guelph Storm at Kitchener Rangers 7:30pm
Game 6 – Sunday, April 1: Kitchener Rangers at Guelph Storm 2pm
*Game 7 – Tuesday, April 3: Guelph Storm at Kitchener Rangers 7pm

(*if necessary)

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