The Kitchener Rangers fell 3-2 to the London Knights at the Budweiser Gardens on Saturday night. Eric Ming and Justin Bailey scored for the Rangers, while goaltender Franky Palazzese continued his strong play, stopping 41 shots in the loss.
The Knights jumped to an early 1-0 lead at the 3:47 mark of the opening period. Sophomore winger Bo Horvat collected the puck in the corner and moved it to Matt Rupert behind the Kitchener net. He sent a pass in front to his brother Ryan, who slid a shot around the right pad of Rangers starter Franky Palazzese. His sixth goal of the year extended the veteran centre’s recent point streak to nine games.
The Ruperts and Horvat teamed up again late in the frame, extending London’s lead to two goals with less than three minutes remaining. Ryan Rupert connected with Horvat, who fired a close shot that was stopped by Palazzese, but the puck was loose in the crease behind the Kitchener goalie, allowing Matt Rupert to tap it in for his 20th of the season.
Kitchener led shots on goal 15-13 through the opening 20 minutes.
The Knights added a third goal with less than five minutes to play in the second period. Palazzese stopped Chris Tierney, but second year forward Josh Anderson lifted the rebound over the left leg of the Rangers netminder to record his 13th of the year. Max Domi also earned a helper on the play.
Veteran Kitchener forward Eric Ming got his team on the board just over a minute later, firing a long shot on goal. The puck bounced off a defenceman in front and was redirected high over the glove hand of Jake Patterson. Ming’s unassisted goal was his seventh of the year and his second point as many games.
London out-shot Kitchener 20-13 in the second frame.
The Rangers closed the gap early in the third, pulling within one at the 2:07 mark. Josh Sterk fired a shot on net that was stopped by Patterson, but the rebound bounced onto the stick of rookie Justin Bailey in front of the open side of the net. The draft-eligible forward buried it behind Patterson for his eighth goal of 2012-13. Fellow rookie Darby Llewellyn picked up an assist on the goal, his second point in as many evenings.
The Knights held on to a 3-2 win, despite being out-shot by the Rangers 14-11 in the final period. London finished with a 44-42 overall advantage in shots on goal.
1. LDN R. Rupert, (6) (M. Rupert, B. Horvat), 3:47
1. LDN M. Rupert, (20) (B. Horvat, R. Rupert), 17:36
2. LDN J. Anderson, (13) (C. Tierney, M. Domi), 15:34
2. KIT E. Ming, (7) (unassisted), 16:53
3. KIT J. Bailey, (8) (J. Sterk, D. Llewellyn), 2:07
1. LDN – 46 Matt Rupert
2. KIT – 32 Franky Palazzese
3. LDN – 53 Bo Horvat
The Rangers return to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, January 8 for a 7:00 meeting with the Guelph Storm. Tickets to Kitchener 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.