Garrett Meurs scored the overtime winner to push the Plymouth Whalers to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Kitchener Rangers Saturday night. Ben Thomson scored the lone goal for Kitchener in the loss.
The Rangers got on the board early, converting their first shot on goal less than five minute into the opening frame. Veteran centre Matia Marcantuoni carried the puck through centre ice before passing it to Ben Thomson on the wing. The fourth-year power forward snapped his second goal of the season by screened netminder Matt Mahalak. Eric Ming also picked up an assist on the play.
Plymouth took advantage of a mid-period power play opportunity to even the score at 1-1. Franky Palazzese made the initial save for the Rangers, but Garrett Meurs was in front of the net to pot the rebound. Stefan Noesen and Rickard Rakell assisted on the goal at 11:33.
Each goaltender made nine saves through the opening period.
The teams remained evenly matched in a scoreless second period. Mahalak and Palazzese each made 11 saves in the middle frame.
The deadlock would last the duration of third, forcing the contest into overtime. Plymouth out-shot the Rangers 9-7 in the final 20 minutes, and finished regulation with a 30-28 overall advantage.
Meurs scored his second of the game 37 seconds into overtime to secure a 2-1 Whalers victory. His eighth of the year was assisted by Ryan Hartman.
Plymouth fired two shots on goal in the overtime period. Palazzese made 30 saves for the Rangers.
Kitchener (7-4-1-1) will host the second game of the home-and-home series on Sunday.
1. KIT B. Thomson, (2) (M. Marcantuoni, E. Ming), 4:39
1. PLY G. Meurs, (7) (S. Noesen, R. Rakell), 11:33 (PP)
OT. PLY G. Meurs, (8) (R. Hartman), 0:37
1. PLY – 16 Garrett Meurs
2. PLY – 28 Connor Carrick
3. KIT – 91 Matia Marcantuoni
The Rangers and Plymouth Whalers return to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium to complete the home-and-home series on Sunday, October 28 at 7:00pm. Tickets 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.