In his first game as interim head coach, Kitchener Rangers General Manager Mike McKenzie got the win over the Erie Otters 5-4 on Thursday night.
In a back and forth affair in Erie, Ont., the Rangers captured a thrilling shootout win. The team played a full 60 minutes and never gave up.
The Rangers came out hungry and trying to climb their way out of this skid. The Rangers scored first with Simon Motew getting his first career OHL goal in the first period.
Despite Erie leading the whole game in shots, it never felt that the Rangers were being out played. They were tight defensively and gave goalie Jacob Ingham a chance to make plenty of saves.
They played fast hard and played well when they had the lead; when Erie kept tying it up, the Rangers never fell apart.
This was a common trend for the Rangers, they did not lose focus like they did last week when they played Guelph. Guelph tied it and got the lead in last Tuesday’s game and the Rangers crumpled even though they played strong for the first half. They eventually lost that game 5-1.
This week it seemed like there was a new team out there. Despite getting into some penalty trouble during the game, the Rangers were able to minimize the damage.
Ingham played a strong game stopping 32 shots and not allowing a single goal in the shootout. The Rangers need Ingham to keep standing tall like this and being a backbone if they are to push out of the skid. The Rangers are 3-7 in their last ten games.
In a tight Western Conference matchup, picking up the extra point on Thursday was big. Despite being in last place in the Conference, the Rangers are just 13 points back. Capturing a few wins in their next 5 games can have the Rangers jump up to sixth in the standings and be right outside of a playoff spot.
The Rangers look to continue this strong play Friday night at home as they take on the Owen Sound attack.