(Photo Via: Blackburn News/Metcalfe Photography)
KITCHENER – Tonight, the Sarnia Sting, sitting third in the OHL Western conference, will travel to the Waterloo Region to take on the Kitchener Rangers, who sit a spot above them in the standings.
In what could be a glimpse of a 2nd round matchup, both teams will be looking to head into the playoffs with some momentum, as both squads are virtually locked into their positions heading into the postseason.
Kitchener comes into the game following a tough 5-2 loss at home on Sunday night against the Ottawa 67’s. The Rangers were able to capitalize on two power play opportunities in the first period on Sunday, leaving the opening frame tied 2-2. Ottawa would pull away with a goal with under five minutes to play in the 2nd, and then two empty net goals in the third period.
Kitchener’s power play is now 7th in the OHL after they went 2/4 on Sunday. The Rangers have converted on 45 power play opportunities, while having the man advantage 202 times this season. Kitchener’s 202 power play attempts are 4th last in the OHL with only Erie, Kingston, and Windsor seeing less time on the man advantage. The Rangers are better on the power play at home as they have converted on 25.5% of their opportunities, 3.2% better than their overall power play, and 6.3% better than their conversion rate when they have a man advantage on the road.
Sarnia will come into the matchup following a BIG 9-0 over the Flint Firebirds on Sunday afternoon. Jordan Kyrou found himself on the scoresheet seven times, moving his point total to 99 on the season, tied with Aaron Luchuk of Barrie, for first in the OHL.
The Sting will look for their franchise best 43rd win of the season, which they will beat with eight games remaining on the year. Sarnia’s win on Sunday was after they had fallen at the hands of the Erie Otters, 2-1, on Saturday night. Sarnia has outscored their opponents 21-3 in their last 3 wins. In their last two losses, they’ve been outscored 9-2. The Sting had won 4 out of their last 5 games heading into their matchup with Erie, and look to continue their winning ways as with eight games left, are looking to make statements to potential first round opponents.
The last time these two teams faced-off was back on September 23rd, in what was both teams 2nd game of the season. Kitchener won the game 3-1, with Anthony Dumont-Bouchard getting the start for the Rangers. Dumont-Bouchard made 36 saves on 37 Sting shots on goal. He was awarded first star of the game. Unfortunately for the Rangers, Dumont-Bouchard would only see seven games of action this season due to injury. Dumont-Bouchard was officially released by the club at the trade deadline back in January. He was 6-1 with a 2.14 GAA and a 0.928 SV%.
Riley Damiani had a goal and assist in the game, leading the charge for Kitchener in their victory. It was his 2nd goal of the season, and 1st assist of the year. Damiani now has 17 goals and 19 assists in 58 games played for the Rangers this season. In the Mississauga, Ont., natives rookie campaign last year, he had 9 goals and 13 assists.
Drake Rymsha was the third star of the game. He had an assist on the Sting’s lone goal of the night. The Huntington Woods, Mich., native was also an astonishing 81% in the faceoff circle that night going 17/21. Rymsha is 66% on face-offs for the season and has 28 goals and 41 assists in 60 games play, averaging 1.15 points per game. His first of three assists on Sunday marked his 150th career OHL point in 219 games played. He has suited up for London, Ottawa, and Sarnia in his four year OHL career.
These teams will square-off one more time before the season comes to a close. It will come a week after this matchup, as the Sting will once again travel to Kitchener for a Tuesday night game.
This game will have a 7:00pm puck drop and will be the only game on Tuesday February 27th in the OHL. You can watch the game on Rogers TV Waterloo, or stream the game on OHL Live. You can listen to the game on CHOK 103.9fm/1070am in Sarnia, and on 570 NEWS in Kitchener.
Kitchener – 59 Games Played, 39-18-2, 213 Goals For, 186 Goals Allowed, 6-4-0 in last 10 – 2nd Place OHL Western Conference
Sarnia – 60 Games Played, 42-14-4, 270 Goals For, 177 Goals Allowed, 7-2-1 in last 10 – 3rd Place OHL Western Conference