Game day: Owen Sound at Kitchener
Rangers: 19-21-2-2, third in the Midwest Division
Attack: 19-23-2-2, fourth in the Midwest Division
Series season: Tied 3-3
Game time: 7:30 p.m.
Skinny: Three wins in the last six games. Points in five of the last seven cases.
It’s almost enough to forget this bad sequence. I bet you don’t even remember when it happened (it was Dec. 7 to Feb. 5, when the Rangers went 5-9-2-1).
Yeah, gotta be #thatguy.
Well, it’s better now. I mean, Rangers have beaten London twice in the last six games.
That caused the Rangers to make a…warning another senior citizen reference to come…Jeffersons in the standings.
Now that my obligatory music video is done, let’s get back to hockey.
It’s really simple.
Kitchener still has 24 games to play. The bad news? Only eight are at home. So… do the math, carry the one… who is 16 on the road.
The good news? Half of the matches are against teams at the bottom of the standings. Four more are against Guelph who – gasp – suddenly isn’t so haughty anymore.
As for the Attack, their barn, the Harry Lumley, is more like the Larry Bumley – because they’ve been bugging fans lately.
The last time Owen Sound won a game, most of us were still putting off our Valentine’s Day presents (note to my wife: the flowers are coming). Record eight straight losses for the Bayshore Group, including an overtime loss to the Rangers.
To watch: No one needs reminding, but Rangers keeper Pavel Cajan has been tremendous since returning from a knee injury. He is 3-2-0-1 and has made over 40 saves three times. But the best part, from a fan’s point of view, is that he makes hits just about every game. So, keep your eyes on the crease.
Watch the playoffs: It is constantly changing. Kitchener is sixth in the West but tied with Sarnia and Owen Sound with 42 points. Ninth-place Erie is three points while last-place Saginaw is down and nine points behind. The top eight teams in the conference advance to the playoffs.
Referees once again make it an official mess in Rangers loss
Rangers see two goals called up but hang on to edge London in extra time
Message to simple Serpa — pull more
Lines (shown closer to game time):
Michael Petizian-Joseph Serpa-Reid Valade
Navrin Mutter-Francesco Pinelli-Mitch Martin
Adrian Misaljevic-Carson Rehkopf-Cameron Mercer
Adam Zidlicky – Matt Sop – X
Jacob LeBlanc-Roman Schmidt
Jack Harper – Ty Hollett
Matt Andonovski – Simon Motew
Pavel Cajan starts.
Stepan Machacek – Deni Goure – Ethan Burroughs
Servac Petrovsky-Cedrick Guindon-Colby Barlow
Nick Porco, Gavin Bryant, Logan LeSage
Lorenzo Bonaiuto-Thomas Chafe-William Portokalis
Igor Chibrikov – Sam Sedley
Madden Steen – Mark Woolley
Taos Jordan-Cal Uens
Nick Chenard starts.
Summary of the game
– This is the first game at Aud with 50 per cent capacity since attendance was reduced during the last round of restrictions. It will be good to hear the supporters ring out once more.
– The Rangers were playing five games in seven days until the OHL came to their senses and added a few weeks to the end of the season to lighten the load. Now Rangers are only on a four-game-in-seven-day streak. #OHLproblems
– He’s not a new keeper for Rangers in the red and white pads. It’s just substitute Marcus Vandenberg who got some new gear that makes him look like an OHL goalie, that is, taller. I’ve been told he’s been rocking three-year-old gear that dated back to his minor midget days before the new duds arrived last week.
– Can’t a captain take a break? Francesco Pinelli missed about a month after blocking a shot with his ankle, then only came back to block another shot with his other foot. He also gets a bloody lip from a punch in his first game, then gets bloodied again with a high stick in his second tilt.
– A highlight for me from last night’s loss at Windsor was the TV crew calling out Navrin Mutter, Marvin Nutter throughout the game. Gave me a good laugh, especially when it was called the Big Nutter.
– Injuries abound again – no D Justin Nolet, F Andrew LeBlanc, F Antonino Pugliese, F Trent Swick or G Jackson Parsons tonight and the rest of the weekend. I’m told it’s 50-50 for action next week as well for the top three on the list. Ugh.
– God bless Mike McKenzie and his mature behavior. Rangers have been screwed by the referees in their last two defeats, including last night’s defeat at Windsor. There were also two goals disallowed for offside in London which some also thought were questionable calls. He’s taking the high road, but I’d give the OHL a shout out. Other teams are doing it and seeing the results. Kitchener is holding firm, but if they miss the playoffs by one point, we’re going to look back to last night’s loss and the most recent loss in Sarnia and wonder what might have happened if the right decisions had been made. .
– There will be a local flavor in the CHL Top Prospects Game taking place in Aud on March 23. Rangers skipper and general manager Mike McKenzie will join a team’s coaching staff with Jamie McLennan, Bryan Hayes, former Rangers star Derek Roy and Kitchener equipment manager Dan Lebold and athletic therapist Cory Birk. Jeff O’Neill will join someone called “Al’s Brother” with Brian Kilrea, Storm coach George Burnett and Guelph equipment manager Jake McKercher and athletic therapist Brie Donelson on the other bench.
– The OHL will no longer require proof of vaccination for games beginning March 1, which begs the question: is the league’s only vaccine back? That would be Kitchener forward Isaac Langdon, a 19-year-old second-round pick in 2018. He has one goal in 18 games for RoKi U20 in Finland this season. So is he coming back? Not this year. The deadline for adding players to OHL rosters has already passed. UPDATE: I guess that’s moot now. I have since been advised that players and staff will still need to be vaccinated. It wasn’t clear in the OHL press release.
JB’s top three Rangers:
Next : Sunday in Guelph at 2 p.m.