The Kitchener Rangers (26-11-4-2) started the first half of a home-and-home against the rival Guelph Storm (22-14-1-4) with a convincing 6-3 road win at the Sleeman Centre on Saturday night.
Things couldn’t have started any better for the Rangers as they went up 2-0 on goals by Liam Hawel and Mike Petizian just 2:44 in.
Hawel’s marker was his second in as many nights since returning to the line-up from injury on Friday against North Bay. Meanwhile, Petizian continued his hot streak with his fifth goal in the past six games.
Guelph’s Danny Zhilkin cut the Rangers lead in half just before the mid-way point of the period when he picked-up a loose puck in front of Kitchener goaltender Jacob Ingham and flicked a backhander over the netminder’s left shoulder.
Greg Meireles restored Kitchener’s two-goal lead with just under five minutes remaining in the opening frame. His 21st of the year came in the form of a quick one-timer that finished a nice passing sequence which started with Serron Noel and Donovan Sebrango.
Celebrations for the Blueshirts were extremely short-lived though as Guelph got themselves back within one just 1:03 later, thanks to Eric Uba’s 15th of the season.
With Ingham and Guelph starting goaltender Owen Bennett making a couple of highlight reel saves during the first half of the second period, it was Declan McDonnell who eventually got Kitchener’s fourth goal of the night on the power play.
The Storm would respond just 1:31 later during a man-advantage of their own with Pavel Gogolev scoring his 32nd of the year.
With 2:38 remaining in the period, Rangers co-captain Riley Damiani was stopped on a breakaway but stayed with the loose puck to get it back in front for Jonathan Yantsis.
Yantsis made no mistake getting his 31st of the year to put Kitchener up 5-3.
A lone goal by Meireles – for his second of the game – was the only scoring in a penalty-filled third period of play.
The final shots on goal were 33-31 in favour of Guelph in the 11th road win (and fourth victory against the Storm) this season for Kitchener.
The next Rangers home game is on Sunday, January 19 at 2:00 pm versus the Guelph Storm. The next road game for the Rangers is on Sunday, January 26 at 2:00 pm versus the Mississauga Steelheads.
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