The bus is packed and the boys are on the road!
First stop is Belleville for a Family Day matinee, next is Thursday night in North Bay to take on the Battalion, Friday night against the worst team in the league (by far) the Sudbury Wolves, and finally a stop in my hometown the next night to play the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
The boys have some work cut out for them, mainly next weekend but the Bulls are up first.
The two teams met just over a month ago with the Rangers coming out on top and with the shutout in a 5-0 win on home ice. Rookie Adam Mascherin had a goal and an assist, and hot hands Darby Llewellyn put two behind Bulls netminder Charlie Graham. The big story was the physical play and amount of penalties called, 26 minutes for Kitchener, 22 for Belleville, that included 2 fights, Luff VS Kohn in the first, then just over five minutes later Gustavsen and Bzowey chose to tango. Add in a few roughing calls, high sticks, cross checks and holds and that was the game.
Check out the link to catch the highlights of from that game – http://kitchenerrangers.com/video/48464
The Rangers and the Battalion have yet to meet so far this season. With 65 points the Battalion stand in third place in the Eastern Conference, four points above Ottawa and seven back from Barrie. They’ve had a recent struggle falling to the Sudbury Wolves giving them their 9th win of the season, yes I said 9 they aren’t even in double digit wins yet, and this is after the fact they fired Rangers former assistant coach Paul Fixster earlier in the season. But were still talking about North Bay, Sudbury is next.
The Battalion fought their way to the finals last year, an impressive first season in a new town, and still have a strong club covering the ice. Nick Paul leads his team in goals with 27 in 43 games, and Brandon Robinson leads the Rangers with 21 goals in 50 games played.
Now back to Sudbury, my second favourite OHL team and coldest rink in the O that I have been to so far.
The Wolves got 1 of their 9 wins back on November 16th at the Aud. Sudbury has a 2 goal lead to start the third, the Rangers scored 2 in the final period to send it into extra time, then a shootout, only fall short and grab 1 point. Maybe you remember Wolves Jacob Harris’s amazing SO goal, if not here is the link to the game highlights – http://www.kitchenerrangers.com/video/44087
Now the Wolves have been hot as of late, which honestly isn’t saying much for them, but the real challenge will come Saturday night against the Greyhounds, who the Rangers recently shut down 5-1 last Sunday, February 8th.
The Rangers and the Greyhounds are in the same conference so we seem them more than the other 3 teams on this road trip so the boys will be able to have a stronger game plan over these boys, and a better idea of what to expect. The Soo have already clinched a playoff spot currently sitting with 85 points, and ranked 4th in the Country as Oshawa sits 1st overall in the Country, and the Otters 6th in the CHL.
The Boys from East Ave. have won both matchups with SSM with a 5-1 score both times. Once before the trade deadline, and one shortly after which included a trade between the two teams.
The links below are the highlights of the past 2 matchups between these two clubs
February 8th Rangers 5 Sault Ste. Marie 1 – http://www.kitchenerrangers.com/video/51571
December 19th Rangers 5 Sault Ste. Marie 1 – http://www.kitchenerrangers.com/video/47014
Listen to games on the road on AM News570
Catch live games on Rogers Cable 20
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