Matt Puempel scored two goals, but the Kitchener Rangers fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Plymouth Whalers on Friday night. Matia Marcantuoni recorded two assists and Josh Leivo extended his recent point streak to a 13th game with a helper.
The Rangers and Whalers skated through a scoreless opening period, with each netminder making 10 saves through 20 minutes.
Plymouth jumped to a 1-0 lead just before the five minute mark of the middle frame. Former Rangers winger and Waterloo native Zach Lorentz was on the receiving end of a pass from Vince Trocheck, and snapped a shot high over the glove hand of Joel Vienneau. The short-handed tally was his tenth of the season.
Matt Puempel’s 25th of the season pulled the Rangers even in the latter half of the second period. Matia Marcantuoni found the Ottawa Senators prospect near the blueline and he moved around the defender and lifted a shot over Alex Nedeljkovic. Joshua Leivo also picked up an assist on the play, extending his recent point streak to a 13th game. The Innisfil, ON native has recorded 18 points over that span.
The Rangers led shots on goal by a 16-4 margin.
Puempel’s second of the game lifted the Rangers to a 2-1 lead early in the third period. The Essex, ON native took advantage of a Kitchener power play opportunity, firing a quick shot past Nedeljkovic for his third goal in his last two contests. Marcantuoni earned his second helper of the night on the play. Captain Ryan Murphy also assisted on Puempel’s 26th of the year.
With less than 10 minutes to play, the Whalers levelled the score, forcing an eventual overtime period. Trocheck’s 41st goal of the season was also his 17th since arriving in Plymouth 15 games ago. The goal was assisted by Ryan Hartman and Tom Wilson.
The Rangers out-shot the Whalers 21-6 in the third, and finished regulation with a commanding 47-20 advantage on the shot clock.
Neither team could solve the opposing netminder in the extra frame, sending the contest to a shootout. The Rangers fired seven pucks on net during the overtime, while Vienneau stopped three Whalers shots.
Stefan Noesen scored the lone goal in the four round shootout, lifting the Whalers to a 3-2 victory. Kitchener and Plymouth split the season series two games apiece.
2. PLY Z. Lorentz, (10) (V. Trocheck), 4:50 (SH)
2. KIT M. Puempel, (25) (M. Marcantuoni, J. Leivo), 13:28
3. KIT M. Puempel, (26) (M. Marcantuoni, R. Murphy), 5:55 (PP)
3. PLY V. Trocheck, (41) (R. Hartman, T. Wilson), 10:41
73 Matt Puempel No Goal
17 Josh Leivo No Goal
95 Justin Bailey No Goal
16 Brent Pedersen No Goal
9 Zach Lorentz No Goal
25 Vincent Trocheck No Goal
21 Ryan Hartman No Goal
11 Stefan Noesen Goal
1. PLY – 25 Vince Trocheck
2. KIT – 73 Matt Puempel
3. PLY – 35 Alex Nedeljkovic
The Rangers hit the road Saturday, February 16 for a 7:00pm game against the Erie Otters. They return to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday, February 22 when they host the Saginaw Spirit for the annual Game Used Lavender Stick Auction at 7:30pm. Tickets to Rangers home games are available by phone at 519-578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977, via the internet at www.centre-square.com or in person at the Centre In the Square Box Office or the Kitchener Auditorium Box Office.