Goaltending is instrumental in the Ontario Hockey League.
The Kitchener Rangers found out that to be true, the hard way, Wednesday in Owen Sound.
"The game comes down to needing some saves," said Kitchener head coach Jay McKee.
Lucas Pfeil was pulled after allowing three goals on nine shots and the Owen Sound Attack clipped Kitchener 4-3 on the Bayshore.
"I’ve praised our goalies in the past when they’ve given us a chance to win, but when three goals go in on their first eight shots, and two probably you could consider soft, that’s not giving us a chance to win, that’s putting us in a hole," said McKee.
The Rangers trailed 2-0 late in the first, but Jonathan Yantsis’ 27th of the year cut the lead in half. But, it was regained by the Bears 23 seconds later.
"Right after we scored the bench is excited, and we’re close to going in after the period down one goal, and another soft one goes in," said McKee. "That deflates the guys a little bit."
Yantsis would add his 28th in the second, but Kitchener found themselves down two going into the third period.
Joseph Garreffa slipped home his 13th of the year to make it a one-goal game in the final frame, which the Rangers dominated. Give Garreffa points in his last five games.
Kitchener held Owen Sound to just one shot – from their own blue line – in the first 17-and-a-half minutes of the final frame, before an Attack power play.
"We can’t really feel bad about our effort. The puck just wasn’t going in," said Yantsis. "Their goalie was making some unbelievable saves."
"I thought our guys gave a winning effort. Our guys had a lot pf push and lot of desire," said McKee.
"Unfortunately, when you give up soft goals early like that, you dig yourself too big of a hole to get out of. We need more saves."
The OHL’s trade deadline is today at noon.
Kitchener is back at home Friday and Sunday against the Guelph Storm and London Knights, respectively.
Story by Chris Pope