It's bitterly cold outside and the music inside the Essar Centre is hair band heavy three hours before puck drop.
Two signs you know you're in the Soo.
And it's all good. Part of the charm of the north.
Kitchener looks to snap a four game losing skid and remain relevant in the chase for the final playoff spot. The Rangers lost 5-2 last night in Saginaw but were missing forwards Justin Bailey and Nick Magyar and blueliner Max Iafrate. The trio is out tonight as well.
The Soo is unbeaten in the past two and comfortably in second in the OHL's western conference. The 'Hounds are 2-1 vs. the Rangers this season, so far.
Rangers' coach Troy Smith is shaking up the wings a bit tonight.
Darby Llewellyn-Curtis Meighan-Scott Teskey
Mason Kohn-Ryan MacInnis-Brandon Robinson
Brent Pedersen-Matia Marcantuoni-Dominik Kubalik
Mark Bzowey-Jimmy Soper-Mike Davies
Ben Fanelli-Frank Hora
Doug Blaisdell-Dylan Di Perna
Dmitrii Sergeev-Logan Schmidt
Jordan DeKort (10-17-2-0) starts.
Sergey Tolchinsky-Jared McCann-Andrew Fritsch
Jean Dupuy-David Miller-Dylan Corson
Patrick Watling-Tyler Gaudet-Bryan Moore
Jorgen Karterud-Charley Graaskamp-Blake Speers
Darnell Nurse-Alex Gubranson
Kyle Jenkins-Tyler Ganly
Tyler Hore-Colton White
Brandon Halverson (8-6-0-0) starts.
- A strong first few shifts by the Rangers fizzles into a four shot period. Some great puck movement on their first PP but no shots on net.
- Surprised not to see Marcantuoni or Robinson out on the PP in the first period. Both have been playing well of late.
- Mentioned this yesterday but Robinson has really upped his play. And I'll add another to that list in defenceman Dmitrii Sergeev. He is playing his way into a regular gig after doing a steady rotation of healthy scratch nights.
- Weird seeing the Guelph Storm here tonight watching the game. The Storm face the 'Hounds Sunday.
- Rangers centre Jimmy Soper sported the full cage tonight. Doesn't sound serious, just a pain in his face.
- The team is really missing Bailey and Magyar's offence (25 and 17 goals). That's about a quarter of the team's goals this season out of the lineup. And it showed tonight.
- Plymouth beat Windsor 5-0 tonight. So that means there is now a 10 point gap between the Whalers and Rangers. Plymouth's magic number to clinch is now 1.5.
- Should the Rangers lose to Guelph on Tuesday they will still be alive and could tie Plymouth if they run the table and the Whalers lose the rest of the way. It's the OHL, strange things happen.
JB's top three Rangers: Brent Pedersen, Jordan DeKort, Dmitrii Sergeev