Kitchener Rangers topple Niagara in shootout

By Mark Pare

Greg Meireles was sporting the “C” on his chest Friday night for the Kitchener Rangers.

And the veteran led by example, scoring a goal and nabbing the shootout winner in a 4-3 victory over the Niagara IceDogs at The Aud.

The Rangers took it to the IceDogs early, gaining some momentum in the first five minutes.

It got heated at times too, culminating about seven minutes in.  Connor Hall took exception to a hit AJ Cook delivered, and dropped the mitts.

But the fight was rather uneventful, with Hall falling on top of Cook within seconds.

Hall, however, was given a game misconduct and was sent to the dressing room.

Just seconds after the instigator penalty expired, Oliver Castleman struck for the IceDogs.  Ian Martin scored at 16:53 to send the visitors to the dressing room with a two goal lead.

Meireles notched his goal around four minutes into the second on the power play.  But Matthew Philip answered just over five minutes later to make it 3-1.

Second round selection Isaac Langdon took care of a loose puck in front at 11:59.

And Arber Xhekaj launched a wrister from just inside the blue line 38 seconds later to tie the game.

The teams couldn't decide things after three periods, so they went straight to a shootout.

Joe Garreffa scored first in the second round, and Meireles tallied the winner in the third to take the win.

Luke Richardson made 26 saves for the win, while Jukka Schotter stopped 29 in the loss.

Both teams will meet again Saturday night in Beamsville.

Following that, the Rangers return home next Friday night to begin the 2018-19 OHL season against the Flint Firebirds.

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