We've seen it before, but this time it worked.
The Kitchener Rangers hosted the bulked-up Guelph Storm Friday. The Storm jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Kitchener responded with three straight goals before Guelph captain Isaac Ratcliffe evened things up with just two-and-a-half minutes left in regulation, forcing overtime.
Then came, "The Play."
"Guess we're not going to sneak up on anyone with that anymore," laughed Rangers head coach McKee.
The Rangers gained possession right away in the extra frame. Joseph Garreffa took the puck behind his own net, while Rickard Hugg slowly skated off for a line change.
At the same time, Riley Damiani jumps on the ice, using the other door on the bench, in the neutral zone behind the Storm players.
Garreffa with a stretch pass to Damiani; breakaway.
"Joe made a great play. He had a guy right on him and threw one up the middle," said Damiani, wearing the firefighter's helmet for Player of the Game. "They had no idea what was going on. You could see [Sean] Durzi looking over at our bench. He was kind of confused."
"I saw Ratcliffe coming in pretty hard, so I kind of rushed it," said Garreffa. "I saw their D; he didn't really see Damiani, so I thought I'll just throw an absolute bomb, a grenade. It bounced over his stick, and then through the legs [of Durzi], and then a great pick up by Damiani."
"Once I saw he got it, I was pretty confident it was going in. He's pretty good on breakaways."
Yes, he is. Damiani froze Storm goalie Nigel Daws and the Rangers shocked the Storm 4-3 just 13 seconds into overtime. (LISTEN BELOW)
.@DallasStars prospect @rileydamiani notches the GWG and gets the firefighter's helmet, for Player of the Game, after the @OHLRangers drop the stacked-up Storm 4-3 in overtime. #OHL https://t.co/3hfff7TPwK— Chris Pope (@_ChrisPope) January 12, 2019
"[The game-winning goal] comes down to Greg winning a draw, Joe making a heck of a pass, Damiani picking up a tough puck there and finishing on it," said McKee. "It's neat when you can draw something like that up, and have it executed at home in front of a crowd against a rival."
"It feels good to win against Guelph," said Garreffa. "At least my billet dad can give it to his mother in law a bit, because they're Guelph storm fans."
It was a packed house on East Ave. An announced 7,300 watched the Rangers snap their three-game losing streak.
You could tell this one meant more to Kitchener. It was what some call a, "Measuring stick game."
"Even before the game you could tell there was a nervous energy," said McKee. "That's a heck of a hockey club; a team that we showed a lot of respect towards by the way we played, competed and came out ready for them."
Kitchener forward Ryan Stepien left the game in the second and didn't return. McKee expects him to be ready to go Sunday, when the Rangers host the London Knights.
Pregame at 1:30 p.m. on 570 NEWS.
Story by Chris Pope.