So, before you get in the car and drive to the rink know that tonight's tilt is in Owen Sound.
It's a rare Friday roadie, but a very important game. The Rangers trail the Attack by two points for third in the OHL's western conference and each club has eight games to go until the post-season.
Luckily, things are falling into place for the Rangers. Captain Ryan Murphy was sent back to Kitchener from the Carolina Hurricanes and centre Radek Faksa is expected to make his return tonight after missing 15 games with a knee injury.
Coach/GM Steve Spott has Faksa pegged for a line with Matt Puempel and Justin Bailey.
The weekend action continues Sunday in London. And who knows? Maybe blueliner Jared Gilbert will pot his first as a Ranger. The sophomore defenceman recently talked about his 70-game goalless stretch.
Matt Puempel-Radek Faksa-Justin Bailey
Ben Thomson-Tobias Rieder-Josh Leivo
Brent Pedersen-Matia Marcantuoni-Derek Schoenmakers
Eric Ming-Curtis Meighan-Domenic Alberga
Ben Fanelli-Frank Corrado
Evan McEneny-Ryan Murphy
Max Iafrate-Jared Gilbert
Joel Vienneau (26-14-2-7) starts.
Gemel Smith-Dan Catenacci-Zach Nastasiuk
Dan Milne-Artur Gavrus-Cameron Brace
Steven Janes-Holden Cook-Kurtis Gabriel
Kyle Hope-Stefano Pezzetta-Jaden Lindo
Keevin Cutting-Cody Ceci
Chris Bigras-Nathan Chiarlitti
Kurtis MacDermid-Brayden Rose
Jordan Binnington (28-12-1-3) starts.
I guess it's a cheerleading competition keeping the Rangers away from the Aud this weekend, according to Barry Hoch, the team's trusted assistant trainer.
For those wondering, Hoch wasn't a male cheerleader in high school. But he did play centre for the Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate Institute football team.
The things you learn on the road.
- Rangers' forward Josh Sterk is the odd man out and a healthy scratch with Radek Faksa back from a knee injury.
- The Attack made a point to punish Rangers' centre Tobias Rieder. He was getting hit hard all night.
- Jared Gilbert got his first goal in 71 career OHL games, against one of the best goalies to boot.
- Lots of line shuffling with Faksa back. The third unit of Marcantuoni, Schoenmakers and Pedersen showed some promising flashes.
- Faksa was a bit sluggish and understandably so, after missing about six weeks with a knee injury. But his play tightened up as the game went on.
- Ah, the Owen Sound faithful, cheering injured Rangers. I'm sure it happens at the Aud too, but not something you like to see.
- Brutal clock management in Owen Sound. Seconds ticking off clock after whistle blown.
- Back from interviews. So here's the deal on the game tying goal. Kitchener says Justin Bailey was not allowed out of the penalty box for an additional four seconds after his penalty had expired. Owen Sound scored in that time.
Apparently Bailey was told he could not leave as it would be too many men on the ice, which was clearly the wrong call.
OHL director of officiating Conrad Hache was in the building and the Rangers want action. After the game, Spott said the guy working the penalty box should not be allowed to do so again.
JB's top three Rangers: Jared Gilbert, Joel Vienneau, Ryan Murphy