But a third-period collapse turned a two-goal lead into a 6-4 loss to Midwest Division rival Kitchener in front of 3,232 at Tullio Arena. The Rangers (26-11-1-0) scored four goals in the third, headlined by Matia Marcantuoni’s go-ahead goal with 4 minutes, 32 seconds left in the game.
Cody Sol’s empty-net goal, shot from Kitchener’s zone, sealed a fifth straight loss for the Otters (6-31-1-1). Until the final period, Erie’s OHL-worst offense (97 goals) kept pace with the Rangers’ potent attack in the first period.
Jake Evans opened the scoring 12:39 into the game on a rebound of fellow rookie Sondre Olden’s shot. Kitchener tied it at 1 on Zach Lorentz’s goal with 4:02 left in the period.
The Otters regained the lead at 2-1 on Mike Cazzola’s goal with 2:30 left in the period. Dane Fox assisted on the goal for his first point as an Otter, as did Connor Brown. Then 1:10 later, Ben Fanelli’s rebound beat Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov to pull the Rangers even at 2-2 heading into the intermission.
But Fox scored his first goal as an Otter – a rebound past goaltender Franky Palazzese 37 seconds into the second period to give the Otters a 3-2 lead. Moments later, a faulty pane of glass prompted a 30-minute delay in which the players warmed up, headed to the dressing room and then warmed up again.
The Otters maintained their one-goal lead after play resumed. Then newly acquired Troy Donnay joined Fox in scoring his first goal with the Otters – and in Donnay’s case, his first OHL goal. The second-year defenseman scored late in a two-man advantage to hand the Otters a 4-2 lead with 6:16 left in the period.
Kitchener sliced Erie’s lead to 4-3, as Marcantuoni redirected Fanelli’s pass past Sadikov 5:57 into the third. Then Radek Faksa turned an errant pass at the Otters’ blue line into the tying short-handed goal with 6:11 left. Marcantuoni snapped the tie less than two minutes later.
Cazzola (goal, two assists) and Fox (goal, assist) paced the Otters while Brown had two assists. Sadikov stopped 32-of-37 shots. Marcantuoni, who was injured late in the game, and Fanelli’s goal and two assists led the Rangers. Sol and Lorentz had a goal and assist apiece. Palazzese finished with 28 saves.
- Victor Fernandes
Rangers 6, Otters 4
Kitchener 2 0 4 — 6
Erie 2 2 0 — 4
1st Period — 1. Erie, Jake Evans 3 (Olden), 12:39. 2. Kitchener, Zach Lorentz 13 (Ming, Fanelli), 15:58. 3. Erie, Mike Cazzola 2 (Brown, Fox), 17:30. 4. Kitchener, Ben Fanelli 2 (Ming, Lorentz), 18:40. Penalties — None.
2nd Period — 5. Erie, Dane Fox 14 (Glass, Cazzola), :37. 6. Erie, Troy Donnay 1 (Brown, Cazzola), 13:44 (pp). Penalties — Grant (E) hooking, 10:21; Lorentz (K) hooking; 11:51; Murphy (K) unsportsmanlike conduct, 11:51; Betz (E) tripping, 17:34; Sadikov (E) unsportsmanlike conduct (served by Cortellessa), 20:00; Sol (K) unsportsmanlike conduct, 20:00.
3rd Period — 7. Kitchener, Matia Marcantuoni 8 (Fanelli, Sol), 5:57. 8. Kitchener, Radek Faksa 17 (unassisted), 12:49 (sh). 9. Kitchener, Marcantuoni 9 (Crescenzi, Genovese), 15:28. 10. Kitchener, Cody Sol 8 (unassisted), 19:41 (en). Penalties — McGuire (E) 5-min. fighting, 2:13; Genovese (K) 5-min. fighting, 2:13; Pelech (E) checking from behind, 3:37; Pedersen (K) checking from behind, 11:32.
Shots on goal — Kitchener, 18-8-12—38; Erie, 10-11-11—32.
Goaltenders — Kitchener, Franky Palazzese 12-5-1-0 (32 shots, 28 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 3-13-1-1 (37 shots, 32 saves).
Power plays — Kitchener (0-3), Erie (1-3).
Referees — Dave Gauthier, Jason Faist. Linesmen — Adam Harris, Ryan Holmstead.
Attendance — 3,232.
* Matia Marcantuoni, Rangers (2 goals) ** Mike Cazzola, Otters (goal, 2 assists) *** Dane Fox, Otters (goal, assist)