Last minute goal trumps Rangers in the Soo Wednesday – Kitchener Rangers

Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Newcomer Danny Zhilkin recorded his first goal in his first game as a Ranger, Carson Rehkopf extended his point-streak to 12 games, and Matthew Sop found the back of the net in his 100th-career OHL contest but Sault Ste. Marie scored in the final minute to earn a 5-4 victory Wednesday.

Kitchener was missing six players Wednesday night. Ottawa Senators’ prospect Tomáš Hamara (Czechia) and Montreal Canadiens’ prospect Filip Mešár (Slovakia) have been away representing their respective countries at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship since Dec. 10, missing the sixth-straight game. Ty Hollett, Mitchell Martin and Francesco Pinelli (Los Angeles Kings) are all sidelined with upper body injuries. Roman Schmidt (Tampa Bay Lightning) was serving game two of a two game suspension.

Both teams scored on their first shot on the game. Kitchener struck first right as their first power-play opportunity expired. At 2:42 Simon Motew wound up for a slapshot from the point and fired the puck into the bottom left corner of the net to give Kitchener an early 1-0 lead. The Greyhounds responded just over a minute later at 3:46 on a snapshot by Bryce McConnell-Barker (New York Rangers), beating Marco Costantini through the blocker arm.

The Greyhounds thought they had taken the lead on a Kalvyn Watson shot from a similar spot, but a good challenge by the Rangers deemed the play offside. Kitchener was unsuccessful on three trips with the man advantage and the period ended knotted at 1-1, with shots favoring the Greyhounds 8-5.

The Rangers regained the lead 4:47 into the second period on Danny Zhilkin’s (Winnipeg Jets) 13th-goal of the year and first point as a Kitchener Ranger. Zhilkin made a skilled curl and dragged the puck around the Soo defender before firing it under the glove of Samuel Ivanov.

Sault Ste. Marie would storm back with two unanswered goals to take their first lead of the game. Andrew Gibson beat Costantini with a slot shot at 8:29 and Kalvyn Watson poked a loose puck from a point shot across the line with under three minutes to play in the middle frame. The Greyhound led 3-2 heading into the second intermission and shots favored the Hounds 18-11.

The Hounds scored quickly into the final period to double their lead at 3:15 with a weird deflection finding the back of the goal. Kitchener fought back with two goals to erase a two-goal deficit with just over six minutes to play in the game. Matthew Sop was the benefit of a 2-on-1 chance, making a skilled play to slide a backhand around the Hounds goalie. Trent Swick tied the game at 4-4. A scramble in front had Samuel Ivanov out of his crease and Swick fired the puck into the net.

With 47 seconds left in the game, Kalvyn Watson threw a puck on goal from the half-wall and the rebound was buried in front by Bryce McConnell-Barker (New York Rangers) for his second of the game and game-winning goal.

Final shots in the game ended 28-27 for the Greyhounds. Kitchener finished the game 0-for-5 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. All three stars of the game were awarded to members of the Greyhounds.

Next up: The Rangers continue their five-day road trip, facing the Saginaw Spirit Wednesday at the Dow Event Center. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm The Rangers’ next home game is on Friday, Jan. 13 when the Blueshirts host the Oshawa Generals in a nationally televised game on TSN. Great seats are still available and can be purchased online here.

Photo Credit: Bob Davies / Soo Greyhounds

For inquiries, contact:

Dominic Henning
Senior Director, Broadcasting, Communications & Hockey Operations
Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club
[email protected]

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