Recap: Rangers earn point in overtime defeat to Saginaw Friday
Kitchener, Ont. – There were three different lead changes in the contest but it was the Saginaw Spirit who gained the final upper hand, earning a 4-3 overtime victory in front of 6,654 fans at The Aud Friday. Kitchener earned an important point and finished the season series with a 2-1-1-0 record against the Spirit. Francesco Arcuri scored his 46th goal of the season on his chase to 50 goals and Justin Bottineau recorded his first-career OHL goal.
The teams played to a scoreless draw after the first 20 minutes of play. Kitchener doubled up Saginaw in shots 12-6 but were unable to get the puck past Spirit goaltender, Andrew Oke.
The first goal of the game came midway through the second period, and it was the OHL’s second-best road power-play in the Saginaw Spirit breaking the ice. A pass through the slot found its way to Michael Misa at the back post and he slotted it into the empty net.
The Rangers responded well as they added two goals in quick succession to steal the lead from the Spirt. Justin Bottineau scored the first for the Rangers to record his first career OHL goal. At 7:59, the puck bounced up and over the net to Bottineau in the slot and he backhanded a shot past the glove of the Saginaw goaltender. Then, with the Rangers on the 5-on-3 advantage, Francesco Pinelli (Los Angeles Kings) wired a shot through the body of Andrew Oke from above the hashmark in the slot to give Kitchener the 2-1 lead with just over five minutes to play in the period.
After 40 minutes of play, Kitchener led Saginaw 2-1 and shots favoured the Rangers 31-15.
Five minutes into the final frame Saginaw found their equalizer. A forced turnover at the blueline forced a pad save by Costantini, but the rebound was kicked into the slot for Luke McNamara to slot the puck home. Then, at 13:02 of the third period Saginaw scored their second power-play goal of the game to take a 3-2 lead late in the third period. Matyas Sapovaliv (Vegas Golden Knights) deflected a point shot into the bottom corner.
With 5:48 left to play in the game, Francesco Arcuri (Dallas Stars) ripped a shot from the top of the circle for his 46th goal of the season and tied the game at 3-3.
After the full 60 minutes, the score was deadlocked at 3-3 and the teams needed overtime. Shots favoured the Rangers 43-34.
In the overtime period, both teams traded multiple chances, but it was Mitchell Smith with 1:45 on the clock, who was coming off a hat-trick in Saginaw’s previous game, that scored the OT winner as he skated into the slot and ripped a shot past Costantini.
The final scored ended 4-3 in favour of the Saginaw Spirit and shots favoured the Rangers 45-37. Kitchener finished the game 1-for-3 on the power-play and 1-for-3 on the penalty kill. Francesco Arcuri (Dallas Stars) was awarded the game’s second star with one goal and two assists
Next Up: The Rangers will hit the road for a Saturday night contest in Owen Sound and then will host Kingston Sunday at The Aud at 2 p.m. Sunday’s game is presented by Tim Horton’s and is the Rangers’ Alumni Recognition and 2000’s Retro Game. Fans are encouraged to wear their best 2000’s and 2010’s look as we honour our history from the past two decades! There will be over 60 Rangers’ alumni in attendance from the Rangers’ 60 years in Kitchener. The Blueshirts are also honouring Dave Schneider for his past 25 seasons as the public address announcer of the Rangers. Additionally, the Rangers are debuting a throwback retro jersey. With more than 7,000 tickets sold for Sunday’s game, limited seats are available here.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Luke / Kitchener Rangers
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