Rangers down Sting in shootout
Rangers, Sting score 10 goals in first two periods that ends in dramatic shootout
KITCHENER — It was a night to remember.
Sgt. Darryl Casselman, backed The Pipes and Drums of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada, sang an emotional version of Amazing Grace as part of a Remembrance Day ceremony before Friday’s game at the Aud.
A group of local veterans standing at centre ice were also honoured by the 6,666 fans in attendance before the clash between the Kitchener Rangers and Sarnia Sting.
Then, an edge of the seat affair followed.
The teams combined for 10 goals over the first two periods and skated through a tense third and overtime locked at five before Kitchener’s Rickard Hugg capped the 6-5 shootout win.
It was the first time the Rangers have won back-to-back games since starting the season at 3-0.
The Blueshirts also looked the part on the ice.
Players were dressed in special navy and white sweaters to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1. The front crest featured a white dove while a bell was on the right shoulder.
It was the 14th year the Rangers have donned special jerseys. Fans were able to bid on the gear during the game with proceeds going to the 78th Fraser Highlanders Fort Conestoga Garrison and the Kitchener-Waterloo Poppy Fund.
The home side got off to a quick start.
Defenceman Arbe Xhekaj scored his first Ontario Hockey League goal just 3:25 into the first period when his wrist shot from the point fooled Sting goalie Aidan Hughes.
Supporters were still celebrating when Sarnia forward — and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect — Ryan McGregor answered with a wraparound just 26 seconds later.
And the back-and-forth continued in the opening frame of the game.
Sarnia’s Justin McCombs snuck past the Rangers’ defence to pot his second of the campaign before Kitchener’s Riley Damiani tied the game 2-2 with a blast from the slot.
The Sting regained the lead before the break on a you-had-tosee-it-to-believe-it kind of goal. Winger Curtis Egert was on his butt in the crease with his back to Rangers’ goalie Lucas Pfeil but — somehow — was able to backhand his first of the season while seated.
The foes combined for five more markers in the second period. Sarnia seemed primed to head into intermission with a 5-4 lead but centre Riley Damiani won a draw in the Sting zone and fed teammate Rickard Hugg who sniped the equalizer with 9.3 seconds.
The teams sent a combined 10 players out for the shootout. Damiani and Greg Meireles also scored in the saw-off for the Rangers while Sarnia got shootout goals from Hugo Leufvenius and Franco Sproviero.
Pfeil made 30 saves and three more in the shootout to pick up his second victory of the season.
The Rangers head to London Sunday afternoon to face the Knights at 2 p.m.
Mike Petizian of the Kitchener Rangers, left, takes a glove to the face from Mitch Eliot of the Sarnia Sting during first period action at The Aud.