Two points each from Ben Thomson and Ryan Murphy led the Kitchener Rangers to a 3-1 victory over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Friday night. Matt Puempel also scored for the Rangers, bringing his team-leading total to 13 goals. With the win, Kitchener improves to 8-0 at The Aud this season.
Both goaltenders were perfect through the opening 20 minutes of play. Sault Ste. Marie’s Matt Murray was the busier of the two, stopping 18 shots through the first period, while John Gibson made 7 saves for the Rangers.
The teams remained scoreless through 35 minutes, until Kitchener broke the deadlock with a goal from veteran power forward Ben Thomson. Domenic Alberga collected the puck to the left of Murray and moved it to the Orangeville, ON native in the slot. His third of the season was also assisted by rookie centre Justin Bailey, his fourth point in four games.
The Rangers extended their lead to 2-0 with just over a minute remaining in the period, capitalizing on a late period power play opportunity. Captain Ryan Murphy’s point shot sailed past Murray and into the net, giving him his fourth of the season. Sophomore forward Brent Pedersen and Vancouver Canucks prospect Evan McEneny assisted on the play.
The Rangers continued to lead shots on goal in the middle frame with a 15-9 advantage.
Matt Puempel’s team-leading 14th goal of the season pushed Kitchener’s lead to three goals with just over five minutes to play. The fourth-year winger gathered a rebound at the side of the net and snapped a shot from a severe angle into the back of the Greyhounds net. Thomson and Murphy each collected their second point of the night with assists on the power play goal.
The Greyhounds got one back late in the frame, when Dylan Staples slid a puck under Gibson to collect his third of the year. Brandon Alderson and Michael Schumacher were credited with the helpers.
That was as close as Sault Ste. Marie would get, however as the Rangers outshot the Greyhounds 9-6 in the final frame and held on to a 3-1 victory. Kitchener finished the game with a 42-22 advantage in shots on goal.
The Rangers remain undefeated at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, having won all eight home games. The team improves to 12-5-1-1 this season and moves into second place in the Midwest Division.
2. KIT B. Thomson, (3) (J. Bailey, D. Alberga), 15:35
2. KIT R. Murphy, (4) (B. Pedersen, E. McEneny), 18:57 (PP)
3. KIT M. Puempel, (14) (B. Thomson, R. Murphy), 14:41 (PP)
3. SSM D. Staples, (3) (B. Alderson, M. Schumacher), 16:55 (PP)
1. KIT – 35 John Gibson
2. KIT – 24 Ryan Murphy
3. SSM – 30 Matt Murray
The Rangers hit the road on Sunday, November 11 for a 6:05pm game against the Oshawa Generals. The team returns to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday, November 16 for a 7:30 game against the Erie Otters. Tickets are available by phone at 519-578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977, via the internet at www.centre-square.com or in person at the Centre In the Square Box Office or the Kitchener Auditorium Box Office.