John Gibson made 49 saves as the Kitchener Rangers shut out the Guelph Storm 2-0 on Sunday night. Matt Puempel and Eric Ming scored for the Rangers, who take a two game lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.
Both goaltenders were perfect through the opening 20 minutes of play. Kitchener’s John Gibson was the busier of the two, making 23 saves in the first frame, while Storm netminder Garret Sparks turned aside all 11 shots he faced.
The game would remain scoreless until the 10:18 mark of the second period, when a goal from veteran winger Matt Puempel put the Rangers ahead 1-0. Sparks made the initial save on rookie Justin Bailey, but the Ottawa Senators prospect was parked at the top of the crease to bury the rebound. The goal was Puempel’s second of the postseason.
The Rangers out-shot Guelph 16-13 in the middle frame.
Kitchener jumped to a 2-0 lead two minutes into the third period. Curtis Meighan’s pass found Eric Ming in the slot and the veteran winger quickly snapped a low shot past Sparks. His first of the playoffs was also assisted by overage forward Domenic Alberga.
Each team fired 13 shots on goal in the final 20 minutes, but the Storm were unable to solve Gibson. The Anaheim Ducks prospect made 49 saves to earn his second career playoff shut-out.
The Rangers take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Quarterfinal. The series shifts to Guelph for Game 3 on Tuesday evening.
2. KIT M. Puempel, (2) (J. Bailey), 10:18
3. KIT E. Ming, (1) (C. Meighan, D. Alberga), 1:59
1. KIT – 35 John Gibson
2. KIT – 95 Justin Bailey
3. GUE – 40 Garret Sparks
The Rangers head to Guelph for Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday, March 26 at 7:00pm and Thursday, March 28 at 7:00pm. If needed, the series will return to Kitchener for Game 5 at The Aud on Friday, March 29 at 7:30pm. Visit our website to for the full series schedule.