Wednesday Highlights: Rangers rush out to early lead, even series at two
WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – GAME 4:
KITCHENER 7 – SAULT STE. MARIE 4
(Series tied 2-2)
An enthusiastic 6,486 at The Aud cheered the Kitchener Rangers on to victory Wednesday night as the Blueshirts took out a 4-0 first period lead, eventually taking Game 4 by a score of 7-4 to knot the Western Conference Championship Series against the Soo Greyhounds at two wins apiece.
Fan favourite. Joseph Garreffa had four assists on the night while Givani Smith (9, 10) scored twice and Adam Mascherin (8) and Kole Sherwood (12) each had a goal and an assist.
“The boys came out and they were fired up to play in front of this crowd,” said Garreffa after the win. “We had a great start we were really flying out there.”
The Greyhounds took control in the latter half of the game, outscoring Kitchener 4-1 in the final 21 minutes of action to set the tone headed into Game 5 back up north on Friday.
“In the second and third we maybe played according to the score and were thinking a bit to offensively and you can’t really do that against the Soo,” Garreffa added. “They can turn around and just score on you like that. I think we need to try and play the way we did in the first.”
Mario Culina made 30 saves in the Kitchener crease while the Rangers chased Sault Ste. Marie starter Matthew Villalta from the crease after scoring four goals on 15 shots.
“At every level of hockey, getting that first goal is key,” cited Rangers head coach Jay McKee in reference to his club’s hot start. “It gets the momentum going, it gets the guys going and we were fortunate to have a good start tonight.”
Logan Brown (4), Greg Meireles (3) and Rickard Hugg (2) also scored Kitchener goals while Taylor Raddysh (10), Tim Gettinger (3) and Keeghan Howdeshell (6, 7) provided scoring for the Greyhounds.
“We have to make sure we forget about what just happened,” said veteran Sault Ste. Marie captain Gettinger. “We weren’t happy with our first period, but I thought our second and third we tried to make a comeback but came up short. It’s a best of three series now with us having home ice so we have to be ready for Game 5.”
Game 5 goes Friday night at the Essar Centre when the puck drops at 7:07pm.
POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE: