Logan Stanley and Connor Bunnaman each had a goal and an assist as the Kitchener Rangers opened up their Round 2 playoff series vs. the Sarnia Sting with a 4-2 win in front of 6,758 fans at The Aud on Friday night.
The Rangers now lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0, with Game 2 set for Sunday night, April 8 at 7pm at The Aud.
Tickets to Game 2 (Home Game “F”) are on sale now with purchase options listed below.
Joseph Garreffa and Kole Sherwood were the other goal scorers for the Rangers, who did their part to continue to deny the Sting of their first power play goal of the postseason. Through the end of tonight’s Game 1, Sarnia has now gone 0-for-25 through their seven playoff games.
After a scoreless first period, the teams skated to a 1-1 tie through 40 minutes. It was a chippy affair, which saw a total of 16 infractions called, with a total of ten power play opportunities awarded over the course of the game.
The Rangers were ultimately able to gain some separation after a match penalty to Jordan Pezzetta late in the second period yielded a five-minute Rangers power play in which the Blueshirts would score twice.
Mario Culina picked up his fifth playoff win, turning aside 29 of 31 shots, including a penalty shot just over two minutes into the third period with the game tied 1-1. He received spectacular support from the team in front of him, as the Rangers peppered Justin Fazio with 40 shots.
Givani Smith also played an integral part in the win, earning the primary assist on Stanley’s game winner while directing a game-high eight shots on the Sarnia goal.
Shots were 17-8 through the scoreless first before the visitors opened the scoring just over five minutes into the second period. Ryan McGregor tallied his third of the playoffs, from Hugo Leufvenius and Kelton Hatcher, to make it 1-0 Sarnia at 6:16 of the second period.
The Rangers would answer back quickly, however, as Garreffa notched his sixth of the postseason, from Austin McEneny and Bunnaman, to even things up, 1-1, just 34 seconds later at 6:50.
Approaching the end of the period the Sting’s Pezzetta was assessed a match penalty for charging, which was accompanied with a five-minute major. The Rangers would capitalize on the infraction, but not before some drama to start the third.
While the Sting were shorthanded, Franco Sproviero was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway, and afterwards awarded a penalty shot after being tied up while attempting to get the shot off. Culina was up to the task, turning aside Sproviero and maintaining the 1-1 stalemate.
Exactly one minute later, it was the Rangers who took a 2-1 lead on the power play with Bunnaman’s third of the playoffs, assisted by Stanley and Adam Mascherin at 3:08.
Still on the power play, Stanley extended the Kitchener lead to 3-1 just 21 seconds later, from Smith and Logan Brown, at 3:29.
The Rangers continued to add on to their lead, and Sherwood continued his goal-scoring prowess with his eighth of the postseason to make it 4-1. Brown and McEneny picked up the assists on the goal at 5:51 of the period.
The Sting would respond with six minutes to play, cutting the Rangers lead to 4-2 on a Theo Calvas goal, unassisted, then pulled Fazio to further try to close the gap but to no avail.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes of play favoured the Rangers 27-20, and 40-31 at the end of regulation.
The Rangers were 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Sting were 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
Justin Fazio (SAR) (3), Austin McEneny (KIT) (2), and Logan Stanley (KIT) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Logan Brown each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
Tickets to all Kitchener Rangers home playoff games for Round 2 are $26.00 each for adults, $22.00 for children 12 and under including HST. They 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 here. Fans can also find more information about playoff tickets here.
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Western Conference Semi-Final
(2) Kitchener Rangers vs. (3) Sarnia Sting
Kitchener leads series 1-0
Game 1 – Friday, April 6: Sarnia Sting 2 at Kitchener Rangers 4
Game 2 – Sunday, April 8: Sarnia Sting at Kitchener Rangers 7pm
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 10: Kitchener Rangers at Sarnia Sting 7:05pm
Game 4 – Thursday, April 12: Kitchener Rangers at Sarnia Sting 7:05pm
*Game 5 – Friday, April 13: Sarnia Sting at Kitchener Rangers 7:30pm
*Game 6 – Sunday, April 15: Kitchener Rangers at Sarnia Sting 5pm
*Game 7 – Tuesday, April 17: Sarnia Sting at Kitchener Rangers 7pm
Western Conference Quarter-Final
(2) Kitchener Rangers vs. (7) Guelph Storm
Kitchener wins series 4-2
Game 1 – Friday, March 23: Guelph Storm 2 at Kitchener Rangers 7
Game 2 – Sunday, March 25: Guelph Storm 1 at Kitchener Rangers 2
Game 3 – Tuesday, March 27: Kitchener Rangers 5 at Guelph Storm 7
Game 4 – Wednesday, March 28: Kitchener Rangers 4 at Guelph Storm 6
Game 5 – Friday, March 30: Guelph Storm 2 at Kitchener Rangers 10
Game 6 – Sunday, April 1: Kitchener Rangers 5 at Guelph Storm 2