Super Mario earns first career playoff shutout as Rangers down Greyhounds in Game 3
When you get ‘Star Power’ in the Super Mario Bros. video game, nothing can hurt you; you can’t be defeated.
Well, Super Mario Culina had First Star Power on Monday night as the Sault Ste. Marie native was unbeatable, turning aside all 24 shots he faced to earn his first career Ontario Hockey League shutout against his hometown team and backstopping the Kitchener Rangers to a 3-0 win over the Greyhounds in front of 6,567 fans at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium in Game 3
The Greyhounds now lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday, April 25 at 7pm at The Aud.
Tickets to Game 4 in Kitchener are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online, in person or by calling Centre in the Square (519) 578-1570 -or- 1-800-265-8977, or at the Activa Box Office at The Aud during regular business hours.
More details regarding purchase options are listed below.
Culina has been lauded as being one of, if not, the best player for the Rangers this post-season, turning out a pair of impressive efforts up north through Games 1 and 2, but unfortunately having nothing in terms of victories to show for it.
But he’s now begun to see the fruits of his labour, earning his first win of the series and upping his save percentage to 0.924%, while lowering his goals against average to 2.50.
Michael Vukojevic also shone brightly on Monday night, as the 16-year-old rearguard factored in on all three Rangers’ goals, picking up his first career multi-point game and increasing his post-season totals to seven points in 15 games.
Riley Damiani, Kole Sherwood and Nick McHugh were the goal scorers for the Blueshirts, who outshot the Hounds 11-9 after one period, 23-15 after two, and 40-24 at the final buzzer.
For the third straight game in the series the Rangers opened the scoring, as Damiani finished off a pretty passing play to make it 1-0 Kitchener just 41 seconds into the second period. Greg Meireles and Vukojevic picked up the assists.
Another early period goal for the Rangers made it 2-0, as Sherwood’s team leading 11th of the campaign, from Logan Brown and Vukojevic, came at 1:49.
The Greyhounds pulled goaltender Matthew Villalta in an attempt to close the two-goal gap, but McHugh sealed the win for the home side with an empty net goal, from Vukojevic, at 18:09.
Villalta took the loss, surrendering two goals on 39 shots faced.
The Rangers were 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Greyhounds were 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Nick McHugh (KIT) (3), Michael Vukojevic (KIT) (2), and Mario Culina (KIT) (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 for Round 3 are $28.00 each for adults, $24.00 for children 12 and under including HST. Tickets to Games 3 and 4 are available in person at the Activa Box Office at The Aud, in person or by calling 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 Final
(1) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds vs. (2) Kitchener Rangers
Sault Ste. Marie leads series 2-1
Game 1 – Friday, April 20: Kitchener Rangers 2 at Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3
Game 2 – Saturday, April 21: Kitchener Rangers 2 at Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4
Game 3 – Monday, April 23: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 0 at Kitchener Rangers 3
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 25: Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds at Kitchener Rangers – 7pm
*Game 5 – Friday, April 27: Kitchener Rangers at Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – 7:07pm
*Game 6 – Sunday, April 29: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at Kitchener Rangers – 2pm
*Game 7 – Monday, April 30: Kitchener Rangers at Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – 7:07pm
Western Conference Semi-Final
(2) Kitchener Rangers vs. (3) Sarnia Sting
Kitchener leads series 3-2
Game 1 – Friday, April 6: Sarnia Sting 2 at Kitchener Rangers 4
Game 2 – Sunday, April 8: Sarnia Sting 3 at Kitchener Rangers 2 OT
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 10: Kitchener Rangers 1 at Sarnia Sting 4
Game 4 – Thursday, April 12: Kitchener Rangers 5 at Sarnia Sting 3
Game 5 – Friday, April 13: Sarnia Sting 2 at Kitchener Rangers 3 OT
Game 6 – Sunday, April 15: Kitchener Rangers 6 at Sarnia Sting 2
Western Conference Quarter-Final
(2) Kitchener Rangers vs. (7) Guelph Storm
Kitchener wins series 4-2
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 2 at Kitchener Rangers 10
Game 6 – Sunday, April 1: Kitchener Rangers 5 at Guelph Storm 2