It seems the Kitchener Rangers (25-12-2-0) ran into the Mississauga Steelheads (17-22-0-1) at exactly the wrong time.
The Trout scored four first period goals and Jacob Ingham kept the Rangers offence at bay as the visitors skated to a convincing 6-2 win in front of 6,777 fans at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday night.
The loss snaps Kitchener’s season-high five-game win streak, and extends Mississauga’s win streak to three games for the first time since November 19. The Steel seem to be riding a bit of a wave, closing out a three-in-three weekend with a 5-3 win in Erie, then snapping the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ 23-game win streak last night at the Hershey Centre, 4-3 in a shootout.
Owen Tippett had a season-high four-point night with two goals and two assists in the win and was named the game’s First Star. He accomplished the four-point feat just twice before in his career, Dec. 4, 2016 and Mar. 24, 2017 (playoffs), both versus the Ottawa 67’s.
The Rangers had more than their fare share of opportunities to get back into the game despite the large hole they dug themselves in the opening frame, but the goaltending of Ingham quashed the comeback attempt.
It was the third time this season Ingham made 40 or more saves, but the first time he did so and collected a win. He improved his record to (10-14-0-1) with 40 saves tonight.
Chris McGonigle (1-3-1-0) suffered the loss, struggling in the first period but allowing just one goal on 17 shots through the final 40 minutes of play.
Despite their position in the Eastern Conference standings, the Steelheads remain a perfect 13-0-0-0 this season when leading after one period of play.
Another downside for the Rangers was the personal point-streak of Adam Mascherin, which came to a halt at 15 games as the winger was held off the scoresheet for the first time since November 19.
On Friday, the Steelheads took the lead on the first shot of the game, as Kitchener native Nic Hague made it 1-0 just 21 seconds in, unassisted.
Mississauga then took advantage of their first power play opportunity of the night, as Waterloo born Keenan Washkurak made it 2-0, from Tippett and Hague, at 3:52.
Before the midway point of the period it was 3-0, as Michael Little scored his fifth of the season, from Tippett, at 7:59.
Tippett picked up his third point of the night to round out period scoring, giving the visitors a 4-0 lead, from Mathieu Foget, at 14:16.
Shots on goal through the first 20 minutes slightly favoured Kitchener, 18-17.
In the second period the Rangers turned things around and took control of the pace of play. Nick McHugh got the home side on the board with his sixth of the season after a nice cross-crease pass from Riley Damiani. Jake Henderson picked up the secondary assist on the goal, which came at 3:32.
At the promotional timeout, the Steelheads had mustered only a pair of shots on goal in the frame as the Blueshirts outshot their opponents by a 10-2 margin.
The opportunities were aplenty for the Rangers and another managed to go their way as Greg Meireles notched his 11th of the season, from McHugh, at 16:40.
But before the period was out the Steelheads would regain the three-goal lead on the stick of Cameron Gaylor, from Thomas Harley and Little, at 18:24.
Shots on goal through two periods of play were 32-26, Kitchener.
With each team taking a two-minute roughing minor with four minutes to play, the teams played four-aside before Kitchener pulled McGonigle with three minutes left on the clock in favour of the extra attacker.
Kitchener held the puck in the offensive zone and saw a number of chances, but failed to again beat Ingham. At 18:32, Tippett tallied his second goal – and fourth point – of the game into the empty net, assisted by Nicholas Canade, to give Mississauga the 6-2 win.
Third period shots on goal were 11-9 Kitchener for a game total of 42-35 for the hosts.
The Rangers finished the game 0-for-2 on the power play, while Mississauga was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Nick McHugh (KIT) (3), Nic Hague (MIS) (2), and Owen Tippett (MIS) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Cole Carter, Adam Mascherin, and Logan Stanley each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
The Rangers are on the road tomorrow, Saturday, January 6 when they take on the Owen Sound Attack at 3:45pm in a game that will be nationally broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet as part of the CHL Saturday Showcase.
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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