Christian Fischer managed to silence 6,697 fans at The Aud, and it only took him less than a second.
The 18-year-old right winger scored at the 4:59 mark of five-minute 3-on-3 overtime to stun the Kitchener Rangers and their fans, leading the Windsor Spitfires to a 3-2 OT win on Friday night at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex.
After action in both ends during the extra frame, it looked as though the game was certainly headed to a shootout, but it was Fischer who made one last drive down the ice towards Rangers goaltender Luke Opilka and managed to put the puck past the netminder. The goal keeps him in a tie for the team lead in points (3-5=8) with centre Logan Brown (1-7=8), who also picked up an assist in the win.
Spitfires goaltender Michael DiPietro picked up the win in goal for the visitors, allowing two goals on 35 shots he faced.
Opilka once again faced a barrage of shots while in goal for the Rangers – 40 tonight – turning away 37 as he was saddled with the loss.
The Spitfires improve their record to 5-0-1-0 to start the regular season, while the Rangers dip to 2-0-2-0. Kitchener and Windsor are two of just four clubs (Erie, London) that have yet to lose in regulation to start the season.
For the first time this season, however, it wasn’t the Rangers who opened the game’s scoring as the Spitfires struck first on a goal by Aaron Luchuk, assisted by Christiano DiGiacinto and Hayden McCool at 6:18 of the first period. It was the lone goal of the opening frame, despite seeing 32 combined shots on goal by both teams with Kitchener holding a 17-15 edge.
Adam Mascherin scored his team leading third goal and fifth point of the season to tie things up at 1-1 from Ryan MacInnis and Frank Hora at 3:26 of the second, but the stalemate was short-lived, as just under six minutes later McCool restored the Spitfires one-goal lead to make it 2-1, assisted by Brown at 9:13.
With the clock winding down on a Rangers minor penalty for too many men on the ice, Connor Bunnaman broke past the Windsor defence and beat DiPietro shorthanded with 4:37 to play in the second and even the game 2-2. The two teams headed to the third period with Windsor holding a one shot lead, 29-28 after 40 minutes, outshooting the Rangers 14-11 in the middle frame.
Shots were 6-6 in the third and 5-1 Windsor in the overtime period for a game total of 40-35 in favour of the Spits.
By each registering a point in tonight’s game, Mascherin (3- 2=5) and Bunnaman (2-2=4) both extend their point streaks to four games to start the OHL season.
The Rangers once again found themselves in plenty of shorthanded situations, as the Spitfires were rewarded five power play opportunities while Kitchener played just twice with a man advantage. Neither team managed to score with the extra attacker.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist and co-host of Rogers Hometown Hockey Jennifer Botterill was on hand to drop the puck for the ceremonial faceoff.
MacInnis, Hora and Brian Brosnan each wore ‘A’s and skated as assistant captains for the game.
Luke Opilka (3), Michael DiPietro (2) and Christian Fischer (1) were chosen as the Three Stars of the game.
The Rangers make their one and only trip to Mississauga on Sunday, October 11th to take on the Steelheads at 2pm. They return home to host the Sudbury Wolves for a 2pm matinee on Thanksgiving Monday, October 12th to close out the weekend. Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item or monetary donation to Monday’s game to support The Food Bank of Waterloo Region in their annual food drive initiative.
Tickets for the Rangers next home game are available online at kitchenerrangers.com, by calling Centre in the Square, or through The Aud Box Office.