Petizian’s OT heroics send Rangers to second round against Spitfires
It might not have been instant karma, but it was sweet nonetheless for Mike Petizian.
He played the role of game seven overtime hero for the Kitchener Rangers, leading the team past the London Knights and into the second round of the OHL postseason. Petizian’s tally came two games after he was at the centre of a controversy around an erroneously disallowed goal in game five of the series.
In what could have been the final time he pulled a Rangers sweater over his head, Petzian instead prolonged Kitchener’s playoff run by putting the puck past London goalie Brett Brochu midway through the first overtime period. The goal was the assistant captain’s team-high fifth of the series.
With the 4-3 victory, the Rangers completed the upset of their division rivals and will now move on to play the Windsor Spitfires in the second round of the playoffs.
Before Petizian could score the winning goal though, Kitchener needed to twice come back from one-goal deficits to force overtime.
Despite being outshot 15-7 in the opening frame, it was the Rangers who got on the board first when Mitchell Martin opened the scoring midway through the first. Kitchener held the lead until London’s Camaryn Barber beat Cajan to tie things up a little over five minutes into the second period.
A Gerard Keane power play goal put the Knights in front near the middle of the period, though London’s lead proved short-lived. Rangers’ winger Reid Valade knotted things back up at two just 49 seconds after Keane’s marker.
In the third period, London once again took the lead and Kitchener once again quickly answered. After falling behind on an early goal, Rangers centre Joseph Serpa tied the game back up, notching his third point of the contest in the process as did Valade.
With neither team able to solve the other’s goaltender for the remainder of regulation, the scene was set for Petizian’s overtime winner.
Rangers netminder Paval Cajan was spectacular between the pipes, turning away 51 of the 54 shots he faced to push his save percentage in the series to .917. The win was Cajan’s third of the series, after he sat out games four and five with a non-COVID illness.
The Rangers will now face the top-seeded Windsor Spitfires in round two, with the series kicking off Saturday night in Windsor. While the Rangers will be the underdog against the Spitfires, the two teams split their regular season matchups, each winning four of their eight meetings this year.
The Kitchener Rangers will take on The Windsor Spitfires in Round 2. Tickets go on sale at 10:15am.
Schedule is as follows:
Game 1, Sat., May 7 at Windsor, 7:05 pm
Game 2, Sun., May 8 at Windsor, 7:05 pm
Game 3, Tues., May 10 at Kitchener, 7:00 pm
Game 4, Thurs., May 12 at Kitchener, 7:00 pm
Game 5, Sat., May 14 at Windsor, 7:05 pm*
Game 6, Mon., May 16 at Kitchener, 7:00 pm*
Game 7, Tues., May 17 at Windsor, 7:05 pm*
Tickets can be purchased in the following ways:
PHONE: 519-578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977