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Rangers feast on Wolves in Thanksgiving thriller

The Kitchener Rangers scored three times in the first few moments of both the first and third periods to slay Sudbury

Liam Hawel can’t stop scoring.

The overage forward, who had 37 goals in a Guelph Storm uniform a year ago, was an assist machine early on before scoring his first of the year in last Wednesday’s loss to Owen Sound.

But fast forward to Thanksgiving Monday --- and after scoring again against Windsor --- Hawel has himself a three-game goal streak, and a hat trick in a 7-3 win over the visiting Sudbury Wolves.

Not to be outdone, Ville Ottavainen had a four-point afternoon for the Blueshirts, including a goal in the third period.

The Rangers scored three times on their first three shots of the game --- two from Hawel, the other off the stick of Mike Petizian --- in the first 2:48 and forced the Wolves to take a time out.

Owen Gilhula and Blake Murray brought it to within two, before Ryan Stepien extended the lead.

Chase Stillman ended the dramatic, and somewhat sloppy, opening frame with a controversial goal that some thought bounced off the official, while others thought goaltender Jacob Ingham made the stop on the wraparound attempt.

Nonetheless, things settled down in the second, with no scoring to show for it.

In the third, it was another three-goal surge for the home side (Ottavainen’s first career OHL goal, Greg Meireles and Hawel’s third of the afternoon) in the first 4:23 to put the game out of reach.

All the while, Jacob Ingham was steady once again with a 39 save performance (including 20 saves in the first) in the win.

Mitchell Weeks was yanked from the Sudbury goal after failing to stop the first two shots he faced.

Christian Purboo came on in relief, making 18 saves before Weeks was brought back in early in the third. Weeks finished the game with six stops.

Declan McDonnell, Mike Vukojevic and Francesco Pinelli each had a pair of helpers.

Maple Leafs prospect Kalle Loponen had two assists for Sudbury.

Quinton Byfield was held to a minus two rating and held off the scoresheet for only the second time in 10 games this season.

Kitchener will finish off a three-game home stand Friday night, when the Flint Firebirds come to town for the first time this season.

Pregame on 570 NEWS starts at 7:00 p.m.


Mark Pare

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