Orangeville, Ont. – Reid Valade recorded a three-point game in his hometown, Carson Rehkopf and Joseph Serpa each tallied a goal and an assist and Marcus Vandenberg made 22 saves on 25 shots to lead the Rangers to a 5-3 victory over the Mississauga Steelheads in a neutral site pre-season game at the Alder Community Centre Sunday.
Mississauga was first to score, converting at 11:34 of the opening frame. From behind the Rangers’ goal, the Steelheads’ Luke Misa centered the puck to Zander Veccia in the slot who scored farside, over the right shoulder of Marcus Vandenberg.
Carson Rehkopf then converted on a nice passing play by the Rangers to earn his fourth of the pre-season at 14:13. From the point, Jack Harper dished the puck to the right circle where Reid Valade held on with patience before finding Rehkopf backdoor to tie the contest 1-1. Shots were tied 4-4 after the first period.
The Rangers controlled the majority of play in the second period and were able to take the lead with just three seconds remaining. In similar fashion to their first goal, Kitchener scored on another tic-tac-toe passing play, this time on the power-play. From the point, Hunter Brzustewicz passed the puck to Rehkopf in the left circle, who quickly fed it to Joseph Serpa at the right circle. Serpa found the back of the net for this third goal of the pre-season.
Kitchener outshot Mississauga 12-9 in the second period for a two-period shot total of 16-13 Rangers.
Vandenberg made impressive saves early in the third period but the Steelheads were able to tie the game on a deflection in front of the net. Liam Spencer sent a shot toward the net before Mason Zebeski got his stick on it to redirect the puck past Vandenberg at 10:15.
Kitchener would score the next two goals in 1:03. First, Matthew Sop beat out an icing play before sending a pass to Valade in the slot. Valade pulled the puck to his backhand and found twine blockerside at 11:50. Then, on a defensive zone face-off win, Serpa collected a puck on the nearside half-wall and head-manned it up the right-wing to Adrian Misaljevic forcing a two-on-one rush. Misaljevic made a nice pass finding Adam Zidlicky who sent a laser of a shot into the net blockerside for the eventual game-winning goal with 7:07 remaining in the game.
The Steelheads scored once more with 3:09 remaining when Misa centered the puck from behind the net to Vecci at the right circle, scoring shortside to bring the game within one. Finally, Jacob LeBlanc earned the insurance marker with an empty net goal on the power-play at 19:13 completing the Rangers’ 5-3 victory.
Kitchener finished 2-for-3 on the power-play, a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and won 37 face-off draws compared to the Steelheads 20. Mississauga finished with the lead in shots 25-21. Reid Valade received second-star honours.
Next up is Opening Night: Kitchener is welcoming Rangers Nation back to The Aud for the 60th anniversary season. The Rangers’ opening night is this Friday, September 30th at 7:30pm. Be the first to see the Rangers in action this season and see the complete East Avenue Blue roster introduced in a special pre-game ceremony. Additionally, the first 5,000 Rangers fans will receive the Rangers Season Calendar.
Tickets for Opening Night are on sale now and can be purchased online here or by calling (519) 578-1570.
Season memberships for the Kitchener Rangers 2022-23 campaign are on sale now and can be purchased at RangersSeasons.com or by contacting the Kitchener Rangers Ticketing Department by phone at (519) 576-3700 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join in the conversation on all things Rangers via social media by using the hashtag #RTown. Stay connected by following the Rangers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by searching @OHLRangers.