But as usual, it didn’t last long. The Rangers made sure of that.
The Rangers scored five unanswered goals in the second and third periods to erase that two-goal deficit and hand the Otters a 6-5 loss in front of 3,082 at Tullio Arena. The Rangers (5-1-0-0) have won 10 straight games against the Otters (3-4-0-0) dating back to the start of the 2009-10 OHL season. Yet the Otters enjoyed a strong start against their Midwest Division rival.
Rookie center Chris Marchese’s first career goal – a power-play score off assists from Tyler Hostetter and Macaulay McDonnell – snapped the scoreless tie 12:59 into the opening period.
Kitchener’s Matthew Tipoff’s tied the score 1:12 later on assists from Tobias Rieder and Ryan Murphy, who tallied his league-best 10th assist and 14th point of the season. But the Otters took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission after Mike Cazzola scored his fourth goal of the season with 23 seconds left in the period.
Greg McKegg’s rebound goal – his team-leading fifth of the season – handed the Otters a 3-1 lead 5 minutes into the second. Yet the Rangers overpowered the Otters for three goals in less than two minutes.
Kitchener scored every goal by outmuscling Erie defenders for rebounds in front of goaltender Ramis Sadikov. Rieder scored his fifth goal of the season at the 10:48 mark to slice the Otters’ lead to 3-2.
Then Julian Melchiori and Andrew Crescenzi followed with goals 22 seconds apart to turn that one-goal deficit into a 4-3 Rangers lead heading to the third. Kitchener scored all three goals on eight shots. The Rangers extended their goal-scoring streak to four 1:05 into the third, as Jason Akeson scored on assists from rookie Matia Marcantuoni and Gabriel Landeskog for a 5-3 Rangers lead.
The streak reached five goals with 7:44 left, as Rieder stole the puck from Hostetter at the Otters’ blue line and scored unassisted for a 6-3 lead. The Otters finally responded on Jordan Coccimiglio’s goal with 6:08 left in regulation. Rookie Luke Cairns assisted on the goal for his OHL point. Shawn Szydlowski scored with Sadikov on the bench for an extra attacker with 1:45 left to pull the Otters within 6-5 – one of their 16 shots in the period. The Otters outshot Kitchener 38-27.
But the Otters scored the equalizer a second or two after the final buzzer sounded. Rieder led the Rangers with two goals and an assist. Akeson and Tipoff had a goal and assist apiece for the Rangers. McKegg and Szydlowski had two points apiece for the Otters.
* News and notes: Otters winger Anthony Luciani remained out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury, as did defenseman Brett Cook (undisclosed injury) and rookie center Connor Crisp (concussion). … The Otters and Rangers meet again on Monday at 1 p.m. in Kitchener.
- Victor Fernandes
Rangers 6, Otters 5
Kitchener 1 3 2 — 6
Erie 2 1 2 — 5
1st Period — 1. Erie, Chris Marchese 1 (Hostetter, McDonnell), 12:59 (pp). 2. Kitchener, Matthew Tipoff 4 (Rieder, Murphy), 14:11. 3. Erie, Mike Cazzola 4 (Szydlowski, McKegg), 19:37. Penalties — Pelech (E) tripping, 3:18; Melchiori (K) delay of game, 11:47; Thomson (K) hooking, 14:34.
2nd Period — 4. Erie, Greg McKegg 5 (Cazzola, Pelech), 5:00. 5. Kitchener, Tobias Rieder 5 (Doornbosch, Tipoff), 10:48. 6. Kitchener, Julian Melchiori 1 (Catenacci, Akeson), 11:47. 7. Kitchener, Andrew Crescenzi 3 (Randell, Thomson), 12:19. Penalties — Austin (E) slashing, 2:39; Grant (E) hooking, 10:09; Gaulton (E) tripping, 12:26; Doornbosch (K) interference, 14:19; Appio (E) checking from behind, 18:00; Cazzola (E) hooking, 19:53.
3rd Period — 8. Kitchener, Jason Akeson 4 (Marcantuoni, Landeskog), 1:05 (pp). 9. Kitchener, Rieder 6 (unassisted), 12:16. 10. Erie, Jordan Coccimiglio 2 (Cairns), 13:52. 11. Erie, Shawn Szydlowski 3 (McKegg, Cazzola), 18:15. Penalties — Melchiori (K) holding, 7:08; Appio (E) interference, 14:05; Marcantuoni (K) high sticking, 16:13.
Shots on goal — Kitchener, 13-8-6—27; Erie, 10-12-16—38.
Goaltenders — Kitchener, Brandon Maxwell 4-1-0-0 (38 shots, 33 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 3-3-0-0 (27 shots, 21 saves).
Power plays — Kitchener (1-7), Erie (1-5).
Referees — Ryan Carroll, Seth Ferguson. Linesmen — Mike Harrington, Sean Pindar.
Attendance — 3,082.
* Jason Akeson, Rangers (goal, assist) ** Greg McKegg, Otters (2 assists) *** Chris Marchese, Otters (first OHL goal)