Guelph, Ont. – The Kitchener Rangers improved to 3-1 over their highway-seven rivals Guelph Storm after posting a 5-1 road victory in front of 3,984 fans at the Sleeman Centre Saturday. Rangers’ captain Francesco Pinelli (Los Angeles Kings) recorded a hat-trick for a four-point night in his return since suspension and Marcus Vandenberg was impressive in net, making 22 saves on 23 shots in the victory.
Kitchener started off strong outshooting Guelph 8-0 early in the first period. The Rangers opened the scoring shorthanded with just 47 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Reid Valade was sprung into open ice by Roman Schmidt (Tampa Bay Lightning) skating into the Guelph zone. While waiting for Matthew Sop to give him support, Valade fed Sop a pass across the ice. Sop dragged the puck from the right side of the net to the left, sliding the puck around the leg of Jacob Oster to earn the Rangers the lead.
Kitchener led after one period by a score of 1-0 and shots favoured the East Avenue Blue 9-5.
The Rangers used the momentum from the late goal in the first period to score four second period goals, making it 5-0 Kitchener over Guelph.
Caron Rehkopf recorded his eighth power-play goal and 12th goal of the year on a classic Rehkopf snapshot from the left face-off circle that beat Jacob Oster over the right shoulder. Francesco Pinelli (Los Angeles Kings) then added to his team leading goal tally recording his 14th of the season on a similar shot, but from the other side of the ice, beating the Guelph netminder under the glove. It was 3-0 five minutes into the second period.
Hunter Brzustewicz recorded two more power-play assists in the game picking up a primary assist on the Rehkopf goal and a secondary assist on the Pinelli goal.
Pinelli added another two goals in the period to complete the hat-trick and the last three Kitchener goals. A shot that was originally stopped by Jacob Oster fell into the slot, and with everybody else tied up in front of the goal, Pinelli slapped a shot through the five-hole. Then with 34 seconds left in the period, Pinelli completed the hat-trick on a slot-shot using the Guelph defender as a screen that beat the Storm goaltender along the ice by the left post.
Kitchener led by a commanding 5-0 advantage heading into the second intermission and shots favoured the Blueshirts 23-16.
Kitchener saw the game out for most of the third period, but Guelph was awarded a 5-on-3 for 58 seconds. Just as the first penalty expired, Cam Allen ripped a shot into the right corner over the glove of Marcus Vandenberg. It was the only shot that beat Vandenberg tonight as he was sharp the whole night stopping 22 of a possible 23 shots directed his way.
Kitchener skated away with a 5-1 victory. Final shots favoured the Rangers 31-23. Kitchener ended the game 2-for-5 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Help make holiday dreams come true on Tuesday, December 6th, at the 27th Annual TEDDY BEAR TOSS GAME presented by Canadian Tire Jumpstart, Giving kids a sporting chance. The Kitchener Rangers host the Guelph Storm at 7 p.m. and ask you to bring a NEW teddy bear to the game. Immediately following the Rangers’ first goal, throw your bear onto the ice surface! Bears will then be collected & turned over to local charitable organizations just in time for Christmas. Great seats are still available and can be purchased here.
Registration Open for Teddy Bear Toss Recipients:
The Rangers have donated 172,267 bears in the 27-year history of the event. Individuals, groups, and organizations wanting bears, may register at the link here and follow instructions on how to access the venue for pick up.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Luke / Kitchener Rangers
For inquiries, contact:
Senior Director, Broadcasting, Communications & Hockey Operations
Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club