The old Aud spirit sagged.
The Kitchener Rangers could not hex or hoodoo the galloping Barrie Colts as a final 2009 favour to their blue-shirted brethren of 25 years ago.
The Colts, with a hat trick from Alex Hutchings, vexed the Rangers 7-4 before 6,573 at the Aud last night.
That’s 22 straight Ontario Hockey League wins for the Colts.
The OHL record of 25, set by the Orwellian Rangers of 1984, is in grisly Room 101 peril.
The rats are gnawing away at the old mark.
The Colts are on pace to get win No. 26 on Jan. 8 in Kingston.
Nothing this Rangers crew could do about it. Disappointing? You bet.
“Oh, yeah,” said Rangers blueliner Chad Lowry, who watched fellow Waterloo pal Colin Behenna and the Colts leave with a Catch-22 triumph.
“Any loss, you’re disappointed.”
This one stung more. The Rangers had the Colts down 2-0. Barrie stormed back.
“We needed a little bit of time to get our legs back under us from after the break,” said Barrie forward Behenna, who finished plus-3 with one assist.
“Once we did, we battled hard and battled back.”
Jeff Skinner scored twice for the Rangers. His 29 goals are tops in the OHL.
But Hutchings league-best sixth short-handed goal was the winner.
Of the 22 wins, Hutchings felt this was the most difficult.
““We started a little slow but we were composed,” he said.
Colts goalie Peter Di Salvo, the South Park savant with Cartman drawn on his mask, turned cartwheels when required. He stoned Skinner on a breakaway.
When the Rangers turned the puck over, the Colts turned it on.
“We had some blunders that cost us,” Rangers coach Paul Fixter said.
The Colts make you pay. That’s why they’re chasing history.
“They’re very good,” Fixter said. “You don’t win 22 games in any league without being good. They showed tonight they have some guys who can put the puck in the net.”
And they can rally in front of intimidating crowds.
“The maturity of this team,” Colts coach Marty Williamson said.
“There’s a real confidence we can come back.”
The Rangers host Plymouth on New Year’s Day.