Kitchener, Ont. – The Kitchener Rangers are back on home ice this Friday when the club hosts the OHL leading Ottawa 67’s for the first time in more than three years dating back to October of 2019. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at The Aud in Kitchener.
Friday night’s contest is the Rangers Bell Lets Talk game. Bell Let’s Talk Day is January 25 and the Rangers are joining in to help create positive change for mental health. When it comes to mental health, it’s important to support ourselves and each other. There are many actions big and small that we can do to improve our own mental health and the lives of people living with mental health issues. Together, the Ranger fans can join in to help create positive change. To learn more on how you can take action, visit bell.ca/letstalk. To learn more on the partnership with the Rangers, click here.
Two sets of brothers are on opposite sides of the bench at The Aud Friday. The Rangers’ Francesco Pinelli (Los Angeles Kings) is the brother of Luca Pinelli. Ironically, the Stoney Creek, Ont. natives both have 44 points on the season. Additionally, Rangers’ goaltender Marco Costantini is the the brother of defenceman Anthony Costantini. Both Costantini brothers hail from the City of Hamilton.
In nine regular season games dating back to the 2016-17 season, the Blueshirts own a 4-4-1-0 record against the 67’s and a 3-1-0-0 record at The Aud. The last meeting between these two clubs in Kitchener was on Oct. 6, 2019. The teams traded 4-3 regulation victories on the season, however, Kitchener erased a 3-1 deficit blanking the 67’s in the final two periods and scoring three unanswered goals to win the game. Francesco Pinelli (Los Angeles Kings) was the only current Ranger to record a point in that game.
Ottawa comes into the game as one of the league’s hottest teams with an 8-1-1-0 record in their last ten games and owns the league’s best win percentage this season at .800. Their 64 points is good for first in the league with a four-point cushion on North Bay (60 points). Kitchener has struggled as of late as they are still trying to find chemistry with the additions to the team and are starting to have a healthy roster. Kitchener lost their last game Tuesday night to London 7-3 and are 2-6-2-0 over their last ten games.
Both teams have strong special team records this season ranking in the top half of the league. Ottawa owns the league’s third best overall power-play percentage at 24.5% with Kitchener hot on their tail in fourth with a 23.5% percentage. Kitchener improves on home ice raising their percentage to 25.6% while Ottawa drops to 15th in power-play percentages on the road at 18.5%
Kitchener will face a tough test as Ottawa owns the league’s second-best penalty kill record at 84.7% and are 81.9% away from TD Place Arena. The Blueshirts also have a good record on the penalty kill this season coming in at ninth best in the league at 80% and 78.7% on home ice.
Scouting the Rangers:
Reid Valade has been a goal machine since the beginning of December. Valade has scored nine goals in his last 10 games, and 13 goals in his last 13 games. He enters the game on a three-game point streak, having four points, with all four being goals. Valade is now up to 31 points (18G 13A) in 35 games this season.
Lleyton Moore leads the Ranger blueline in points this season with 32 points (4G 28A) in 38 games. Moore has faced Ottawa three times this season, all as a member of the Oshawa Generals where he totaled two assists. He is also tied with teammate Hunter Brzustewicz for 32 points (3G 29A) and both players are tied with the seventh highest point total in the league amongst defencemen. Brzustewicz continues to help drive a successful Kitchener power-play ranking third in power-play assists this season.
Captain Francesco Pinelli got himself back on the scoresheet for the Rangers Tuesday after being held pointless for two games. Pinelli is up to 44 points (22G 22A) in 30 games this season and still owns the highest points per game tally at 1.47.
Francesco Arcuri (Dallas Stars), Tomáš Hamara (Ottawa Senators), Filip Mešár (Montréal Canadiens), Francesco Pinelli (Los Angeles Kings), Roman Schmidt (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Danny Zhilkin are six Kitchener skaters that are both drafted, and signed, by their NHL clubs respectively.
Scouting the 67’s:
Luca Pinelli (2023 Draft Eligible), brother of Ranger’s captain, Francesco Pinelli, returned to the 67’s after posting 36 points (14G, 22A) in his rookie campaign. This season Luca has already surpassed his total from his rookie season and has tallied 44 points (18G 26A) in 39 games. His 44 points is tied with his brother who has recorded the same total, however, coming in nine less games.
Brady Stonehouse is the hottest 67’s skater entering play Friday night. Stonehouse is currently riding a six-game point streak in which he has totaled six goals and two assists, which is good for eight points on this stretch.
Ottawa made two big splashes at the trade deadline acquiring overage Forward Logan Morrison from the Hamilton Bulldogs and Pavel Mintyukov (Anaheim Ducks) from the Saginaw Spirit. Morrison now leads the 67’s in points with 61 points (21G 40A) in just 37 games averaging 1.65 points per game. In three games with Ottawa, Morrison is averaging 2 points per game with six points (1G 5A). He trails only Ty Voit (62) of the Sarnia Sting for the scoring race in the OHL and ranks third in the league in assists.
Kitchener has seen Pavel Mintyukov twice this season already with Saginaw where he recorded four points (1G 3A) in those two games. Mintukov has amassed an impressive 57 points (16G 41A) in 41 games this season from the blueline and ranks second in assists trailing Ty Voit (51) who has the lead. Mintyukov does own the lead in every scoring category amongst all defencemen including goals, assists, points, and points per game and only trails teammate jack Matier (+30) in plus/minus with a +27 rating.
Jack Beck (Calgary Flames), Tyler Boucher (Ottawa Senators), Jack Matier (Nashville Predators), Pavel Minyukov (Anaheim Ducks), and Vinzenz Rohrer (Montreal Canadiens) are the five Ottawa skaters that are drafted by their NHL clubs respectively.
Friday night’s contest will be televised live throughout Kitchener and the Waterloo Region on Rogers TV, cable channel 20. In addition, the contest can be watched across the province of Ontario on the Super Sports Pack on channel 469 for cable subscribers. Jason Hagholm (play-by-play), Dan Polischuk (colour commentary) and Sean Furfaro (host) will call the game on television.
The game will be streamed live online in a web browser at OHLLive.com, and on the CHL App for mobile devices including smart TV’s such as including Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.
Additionally, fans can listen to the game on the radio on CityNews 570 AM CKGL. Mike Farwell (play-by-play) and Chris Pope (colour commentary) will call the game on the radio. Fans can tune in to the radio pregame show 30 minutes prior to puck drop and can be a part of the broadcast with extended postgame shows as Farwell takes phone calls from Rangers Nation after all home games at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. Fans can call 519-570-2545 during the radio postgame shows to talk Rangers Hockey.
For more information on Kitchener Rangers broadcast coverage, click here.
The Rangers will hit the road for two games this weekend. Saturday, Kitchener is in Sarnia for a 7 p.m. game against the Sting. Then, the Rangers face-off against the Knights in London Sunday at 2 p.m.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Luke / Kitchener Rangers
For inquiries, contact:
Senior Director, Broadcasting, Communications & Hockey Operations
Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club