It was closer than they may have liked, but the Kitchener Rangers will take it.
Losers of six-of-seven, the Rangers hosted the league-worst Kingston Frontenacs Friday at The Aud.
After leading 2-0 in the second, Kitchener allowed Kingston to score twice in 35 seconds to tie the game.
“Our compete from the beginning was very high,” said head coach Jay McKee. “I didn’t like, obviously, the end to our second period. We were a lot better with puck possession. It’s something we talked about; regrouping, and not just throwing pucks away.”
Kingston scored in the third and held the lead for 9:59 before a point shot deflected in off Jonathan Yantsis with just 15 seconds left to force overtime.
Greg Meireles, Liam Hawel and Reid Valade scored in the shootout and the Rangers squeaked by the Fronts 4-3.
“Regardless of how you win; what the scenario is, whether it’s scoring late like we did tonight and winning in a shootout, a win is a win and you feel good about that,” said McKee.
A win is a win, but Kitchener hasn’t scored more than three goals during regulation in eight straight games.
The offensive struggles are in-part to the team icing their top-six forwards for just the second time all season long, Friday.
“I think you show your true colours, not only as coaches but as players, when things are tough, how you treat each other” said McKee. “It’s a big win for moral. Just getting over that hump of not finding wins (...) we’re going to keep grinding away and build on positives from this game.”
The Rangers are still without starting goaltender Jacob Ingham, who missed his third game with an undisclosed injury.
Mike Petizian, who’s been playing some of his best hockey as of late, left the game after the first period because of a clerical error.
“I feel terrible. I made a mistake,” said McKee to 570NEWS, owning a personal mistake post-game. “I had his number in the line-up, and I missed his name on the other side [of the official line-up card]. I apologized after the game in front of his teammates. It’s something I haven’t done in six years. It’s just a human error and something I feel terrible about.”
Things don’t get any easier for Kitchener. They’re in London against the Mid-West-Division-leading London Knights Sunday.
Pregame on 570NEWS begins at 1:30 p.m.
Story by Chris Pope.