Sunday, September 26, 2010

Four-Goal Third Period Lifts Rangers Past Storm

Two years ago, at the outset of the post-Memorial Cup-run rebuild, fans were advised to stay in their seats until the last ticks of the clock had run their course.

The Kitchener Rangers were young, but they had a flare for the dramatics, usually scoring in the last possible moments on unsuspecting opponents who thought they had their foot firmly on the throats of the blueshirt crew.

Flash forward to the present, specifically Sunday's 6-4 victory against arch-rival Guelph at the Sleeman Centre in front of 3,394, and you'll find a similar pattern emerging.

But these older and grizzled veterans have learned. They're starting to find the net earlier.


Just call them the third period throttle boys.

When those last 20 minutes are upon the boys in blue, they turn it up a notch.

A third-period four goal outburst on Sunday followed a third-period triple strike-delight versus Saginaw on Friday.

It seems when it matters most, the Rangers wake up just in time.

It didn't seem to matter that the Rangers were able to take a nap in the second frame, and Guelph's top trio of Peter Holland, Michael Latta and Taylor Beck combined for five points and helped pot three against starting goalkeeper Mike Morrison and the Rangers.

Beck, Latta, Holland and Cody McNaughton had the Storm up 4-2 after two.

But they were unable to keep pace with the Rangers' new favourite tradition featuring the third period feeding frenzy.

The Storm didn't help their cause by taking 10 minor infractions, with three in the Rangers' favourite frame.

Ryan Murphy arrived to his sophomore season by scoring twice in the final minutes, Matt Tipoff (pictured) added another and Tobias Rieder started it all off 3:24 into the final frame to together record four unanswered goals and leave the second-period-dominant Storm with some gaping jaws.

It's a dangerous game the Rangers are playing.

Teams in the Ontario Hockey League are not known for napping during games and still emerging with the W.

But the Rangers have managed to do it twice to open the campaign.

Coach Steve Spott will be looking for a complete 60-minute effort during practice this week if he wants the wins to rack up.

The afternoon affair lived up to its rivalry-renewed billing.

The Storm showed flashes of why they're considered to be a contender.

Their top line of Holland, Latta, and Beck can devastate opponents and may even be the best line in the league when each are hot.

But it was the Rangers' depth that wore down the star-heavy Storm.

Tipoff recorded two goals and a fight, Jamie Doornbosch notched his first as a Ranger, Murphy's two-goal outburst and Rieder's second goal in two games proved that the team down Highway 7 is more than just absentee-NHL busy stars; Jeremy Morin and Jeff Skinner.

Kitchener and Guelph will have many more chances to get re-acquanited, seven to be exact as the young season wears on.

Until then, the Rangers will need to devise a plan to stop the Storm's top three guns, as well as halt that annoying habit of sleeping on the job.

That third period throttle thing though... Spott may want to keep that new pattern intact.

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