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Rangers triumph in game 6, set up winner-take-all showdown in London

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Rangers triumph, set up winner-take-all showdown in London

They’re the two most exciting words in hockey. Game seven.

The Kitchener Rangers and London Knights are set to play in one tonight. After splitting the series’ first six games, the division rivals will now clash one last time to determine who moves on to the Western Conference Semi-finals. A victory on the road tonight would clinch the upstart Rangers a major first-round upset.

Before game seven could take place, Kitchener still needed to win game six first. They did just that, cruising to a 5-2 victory at the Aud on the strength of a four-goal second period. The victory also saw the return of netminder Pavel Cajan, who made 38 saves to backstop the Rangers to victory.

It was a much-needed momentum shift for Kitchener after having a controversial call take away a goal during their game five loss. The OHL would later confirm the call had been made in error, though it came as no consolation to the Rangers.

Instead, Kitchener went into game six with their season on the line. The Rangers were unable to get on the board in the opening frame, while Cajan turned away all 19 shots he faced.

Things took a turn in the Rangers’ favour early in the second when centre Carson Rehkopf beat Brett Brochu to break the scoreless tie less than three minutes into the period. It took just 49 seconds for the team to add another goal to their lead, as Trent Swick added his first of the playoffs.

Rehkopf struck once again, notching a power play marker midway through the frame, while Reid Valade potted an insurance marker with less than five minutes left in the period. The four-goal outburst was enough to chase London goalie Brett Brochu, as backup Owen Flores took over for the final period.

A pair of third-period London goals cut Kitchener’s lead down to two, but Adrian Misaljevic added an insurance tally with a little under seven minutes remaining and the Rangers held on for the win, despite being outshot 14-4 in the final 20 minutes.

The win sets up a winner-take-all showdown, though history may be on the Rangers side. The last time the two teams met in a game seven, it was Kitchener who prevailed, triumphing 8-3 on the road in 2010.

Should the Rangers prevail tonight, they’ll be taking on the Western Conference-best Windsor Spitfires in the second round. Before they can look ahead to that series, they’ll need to come out on top against the Knights first tonight.

 

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