Ryan MacInnis’ 20th goal of the season extended his point streak to 13 games, but the Kitchener Rangers win streak was halted at five, as the Windsor Spitfires came away with a 4-3 overtime victory in front of 4,610 fans at the WFCU Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Jalen Chatfield scored at 3:26 of the overtime period to propel the Spitfires (18-9-5-0) to five of a possible six points on their weekend. They became just the second OHL team to beat the Rangers (23-3-4-0) twice, albeit both victories coming in overtime with the Rangers still registering a point in both contests.
Two rookies tended their respective creases on the afternoon, as Michael DiPietro (7-3-1-0) allowed three goals on 30 shots to earn the win for the Spitfires. Luke Richardson (2-0-1-0) made back-to-back starts for the first time in his OHL career and was dealt the loss, despite making 26 saves.
Cristiano DiGiacinto opened the scoring, sending teddy bears to the ice for the Spitfires teddy bear goal at 7:32 of the first period, assisted by Cole Carter. After the ice was cleared and play resumed, the Spitfires struck again just 32 seconds later, as Gabriel Vilardi made it 2-0, unassisted, at 8:04. Windsor would take the 2-0 lead into the first intermission after outshooting the Rangers 9-5 in the opening frame.
The Rangers came out with a more concerted effort in the second period, which was demonstrated first by a Darby Llewellyn goal which cut the Windsor lead to 2-1 at 3:32 of the second. David Miller and Dylan Di Perna picked up the assists.
Gustaf Franzen tied the game after a great individual effort and impressive drive to the net, tucking the puck between the goalpost and the pad of DiPietro at 12:34, set up by Connor Bunnaman and Elijah Roberts. The Spitfires would regain the lead, 3-2, at 15:32 when Bradley Latour capitalized on the power play from Christian Fischer and Brendan Lemieux, but the Rangers would again answer back.
MacInnis tallied his 20th goal of the season (and 9th on the power play) to once again tie the game at 18:23 of the second period, assisted by Adam Mascherin and Miles Liberati. Shots on goal during the second period of play were 15-6 Kitchener, for a two period total of 20-15 in favour of the Rangers.
After a scoreless third period the game went to overtime, where Chatfield capitalized with 1:34 remaining in the 3-on-3, five-minute extra frame. Final shots were 30-30.
The Rangers would go 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Spitfires were 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
MacInnis, Franzen and Frank Hora each wore ‘A’s and skated as alternate captains for the game.
DiGiacinto (3), Llewellyn (2) and Chatfield (1) were chosen as the Three Stars of the Game.
The Rangers take on the London Knights on Wednesday, December 16th at 7pm at Budweiser Gardens, then wrap up their pre-holiday schedule when they host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Friday, December 18th at 7:30pm.
Tickets for Friday, and other future Rangers home games, are available online at kitchenerrangers.com, by calling Centre in the Square, or through The Aud Box Office.