It's pretty quiet here now at the Sleeman Centre. But that won't last long.
The building is sold out for tonight's Rangers-Storm game, one that will likely determine fourth place in the OHL's western conference.
And while strange things happen down the stretch, it appears these two rivals are on a collision course to meet in the first round of the playoffs.
An update on defenceman Ben Fanelli. He does not have a concussion and has passed all the necessary tests to return to play.
That being said, he'll sit tonight out. He'll also be iffy for the final two games, depending on how tonight shakes out.
Rangers' coach/GM Steve Spott has said he wants to rest his veterans, if he can, down the stretch.
Agent Rob Hooper says Fanelli was "more shocked and stunned" from the hit delivered by Saginaw's Terry Trafford last Friday. The hit left Fanelli with a gash under his nose and on his cheek.
Don't expect centre Tobias Rieder back next year.
The Edmonton Oilers draft pick has not inked a pro deal but is getting interest from other NHL clubs. The Oilers have until June to sign or trade him. If those options don't happen, Rieder will go back into the draft.
The feeling is that the German will be slotted in the AHL by whoever signs (or redrafts) him.
Ben Thomson-Tobias Rieder-Josh Leivo
Matt Puempel-Radek Faksa-Justin Bailey
Brent Pedersen-Matia Marcantuoni-Derek Schoenmakers
Domenic Alberga-Curtis Meighan-Eric Ming
Ryan Murphy-Frank Corrado
Evan McEneny-Max Iafrate
Jared Gilbert-Owen Stewart
John Gibson (15-9-0-1) starts.
Scott Kosmachuk-Tanner Richard-Zack Mitchell
Brock McGinn-Hunter Garlent-Jason Dickinson
Tyler Bertuzzi-Marc Stevens-Justin Auger
Patrick Watling-Ryan Horvat-Cody McNaughton
Andrey Pedan-Saverio Posa
Zac Leslie-Brock Beukeboom
Ben Harpur-Chadd Bauman
Garret Sparks (35-16-0-4) starts.
- Kitchener's penalty killers were on point. Special mention goes to Tobias Rieder whose strong forechecking chewed up key seconds. A nod to defenceman Max Iafrate as well, who blocked three shots (two with his back) on one shift.
- Production from Kitchener's third unit was long overdue. The trio of Derek Schoenmakers, Matia Marcantuoni and Brent Pedersen has combined for four goals in the past 14 games.
- Perhaps the hardest hitting Rangers' squad I've seen in the first period.
- So the playoff picture remains cloudy. Kitchener can finish third, fourth or fifth. But the team needs one point to clinch fourth and home ice.
- All signs point to a clinch vs Saginaw Friday. The Spirit are in eighth and can't move up, so they'll probably be resting several players. Get a point Friday, and Kitchener can send some vets home to rest while the remaining players head north to finish the season in the Soo.
- Guelph made it interesting and had a goal waved off with 1:02 remaining and a last second shot reviewed by replay.
- Kitchener continued a disturbing trend of taking bad penalties. Guelph had two five-on-three advantages and a 6-on-4 bonus in the final minute.
- The Sleeman Centre was electric. So loud. Couldn't even hear the PA announcer at times. Now that is how you #rockthe buidling.
- The rust is gone from Rangers' goalie John Gibson. He made 37 saves and was in fine form.
- Forward Eric Ming fought Guelph's Ryan Horvat. It was the second time this year they have duked it out.
JB's top three Rangers: Derek Schoenmakers, John Gibson, Frank Corrado