The start was good. The middle frame, even better.
But it’s how the Kitchener Rangers finished that’s leaving a sour taste, despite scoring nine goals and picking up their eighth win in a row.
What was a 9-2 blowout with about 10 minutes left in regulation, turned into a 9-6 Ranger win over the Hamilton Bulldogs Friday night, after the visitors scored four times late.
A big upside to the contest was that the Rangers got goals from nine different players.
In fact, every Kitchener skater except for Riley Damiani, Simon Motew and Ryan Stepien had a point in the game.
After the first 20 minutes finished 2-2 --- Donovan Sebrango and Jesse Fishman scored for Kitchener, while Logan Morrison scored two of his three goals on the night for Hamilton --- the Rangers went off for seven straight markers, including a three-goal second period.
Mike Petizian, Reid Valade and Axel Bergkvist scored in the middle frame to extend the Rangers' lead to 5-2.
Arber Xhekaj nabbed his first of the season with 92 seconds gone in the third, while Declan McDonnell scored the eventual game-winner a minute later.
Francesco Pinelli got his first goal at The Aud since returning from the U17s to send Zachary Roy to the bench frustrated.
Jonathan Yantsis got on his horse and finished off a highlight reel effort with a backhand on backup Marco Costantini to cap off the offensive outburst.
However, Morrison’s hat-trick marker, followed by goals from Avery Hayes, Arthur Kaliyev and Davis Young made the score look a bit more respectable.
Of note for the Bulldogs, Jake Gravelle had three assists, while Kaliyev finished with a three-point effort too.
Roy made 31 saves before getting the yank with 15 minutes left. Costantini stopped four of the five shots he faced.
Pfeil nabbed 28 saves and collected a win for the third straight game.
The last time Kitchener won eight in a row was part of an 11-game streak, between October 12 and November 6, 2015.
The start of that streak was a Thanksgiving Monday matinee at The Aud, when the Rangers routed Sudbury 8-2. They were led by a five-point effort from a 16-year old rookie Greg Meireles, the first five points of his OHL career.
The Rangers have a quick turnaround, as they travel up Highway 7 for a rare Saturday matinee in Guelph, and the Storm’s annual Teddy Bear Toss game.
Pregame starts at 1:30 p.m. on 570 NEWS.