(Photo Via: Sarnia Observer/Mark Malone)
KITCHENER – The Kitchener Rangers bounced back after their 5-2 loss on Sunday afternoon to Ottawa as they knock off the Sarnia Sting 6-3 on Tuesday night at home.
The offence came early into the first period as Jonathan Ang opened things up for Sarnia with his 23rd goal of the season. The goal came just 4:39 into the opening period and was Sarnia’s 2nd shot of the game. The goal marked the Markham, Ont., native Ang’s 8th goal since joining the Sting back in January from the Peterborough Petes. Ang now has 23 goals and 41 Assists on the season, he was selected by Florida in the 4th round (94th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft.
The Rangers wouldn’t get deterred from the quick Sting goal as Kole Sherwood netted his 27th goal of the season just 1:09 after the opening goal by Ang to tie the game at 1-1. Then, just 2:54 after that, Sherwood would add his 2nd goal of the game and 28th of the season. For the New Albany, Ohio., native, the two goals marked his 4th goal in as many games, and 6 goals in his last 7 games. This is Sherwood’s 6th multi-goal game of the season, which includes two hat tricks, the first coming November 14th against London, and the second coming January 26th against Saginaw.
Sarnia would tie the game back up at 2-2 later on in the first. With 4:21 left in the period Hugo Leufvenius netted his 18th goal of the year on the power play wile Logan Stanley was serving a roughing minor. There was 0:18 left in the Sting power play when Leufvenius scored. For Leufvenius, the 6’3 225lbs product of Stockholm, Swe., the goal ended an eight game goalless drought. The last time he scored was back on February 3rd in a 5-1 Sting win over London.
Before the opening 20 minutes were up, Kitchener would strike again. Logan Brown would score his 19th goal of the season and it would be his 2nd point of the night, as he assisted on the opening goal by Sherwood. The 1st round (11th overall) pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Brown, who was acquired from the Windsor Spitfires, hadn’t scored in his last four games.
The second period would be scoreless as Kitchener would continue to lead 3-2 heading into the final 20 minutes.
Rickard Hugg would score 6:09 into the final frame, marking his 5th goal of the season. The Hudiksvall, Swe., native hadn’t scored since December 28th in a 5-1 Rangers away victory over the Owen Sound Attack. Hugg had played in 23 games since his last goal. The goal marked Hugg’s 3rd point in his last 10 games.
Adam Ruzicka would score just 1:15 after the Hugg goal to bring the Sting back to a 1-goal deficit. The goal marked the Bratislava, Svk., natives 34th goal of the season. Ruzicka, who had an assist earlier in the game, has nine points in his last four games. He has recorded 69 points in just 57 games played this season with the Sting.
That would be as close as Sarnia would get. With less than two minutes to go, Logan Brown added his 2nd goal of the game to put the Rangers up 5-3. This would mark the 5th multi-goal game of the season for Brown, including a hat trick that came back on November 11th when he was still with the Spitfires. They beat his new team, Kitchener, 6-5 in overtime that night. Brown now has 7 goals since joining the Rangers, he has played in just 13 games with the team.
Connor Bunnaman would add an empty-net goal with just 0:04 left in the game. The goal was Bunnaman’s 24th goal of the season and now gives him a three-game goal streak. He has also recorded 5 points in his last 4 games. Logan Brown would assist on the goal to give him 2 goals and 2 assists on the night. Brown has 20 goals and 26 assists in just 28 games played this season with both Windsor and Kitchener.
Mario Culina picked up the win for the Rangers making 35 saves on 38 Sting shots on goal. The win improved the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., natives 14th win of the season improving his record to 14-8-2 on the year. Culina is 12-3-0 with a 2.36 GAA and a 0.927 SV%, since being acquired from the Sudbury Wolves in January. Culina began the year in the rotation of goaltenders at Ryerson University in the OUA.
Justin Fazio would pick up the loss for the Sting. Fazio allowed 5 goals on 26 shots faced by the Rangers. This marks Fazio’s 10th regulation loss of the season, dropping his record to 33-10-3 on the year with Sarnia. Fazio was 6-1-0 coming into the night in his last 7 decisions.
With an assist on the third Sarnia goal of the game, Jordan Kyrou became the first player in the OHL to eclipse 100 points on the season. The Toronto, Ont., native has 35 goals and 65 assists on the season in just 50 games played, averaging two points per game. Kyrou now takes the OHL lead in scoring.
The Sting will look to regroup on Friday night, but it won’t get any easier. Sarnia, currently sitting 2nd in their division, and 3rd in the Western conference, will take on the top team in the OHL, Sault Ste. Marie on the road. Puck drop from the Essar Centre is set for 7:07pm.
Kitchener will also play their next game on Friday night. They will take on the surging Oshawa Generals at home. Oshawa plays on Wednesday night when the host the Mississauga Steelheads. Puck drop will be at 7:30 from the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday.
First Star: #19 Logan Brown – 2 Goals 2 Assists, +4, 6 shots on goal, 100% Face-offs (1/1)
Second Star: #32 Mario Culina – 35 Saves, 38 Shots on Goal, 1 Win
Third Star: #12 Jonathan Ang – 1 Goal, -1, 2 Shots on goal, 2 Penalty Minutes, 71% Face-offs (5/7)