If three is a streak, five is a pattern.
The Kitchener Rangers are still looking for their first win since the holiday break.
The Saginaw Spirit, the first placed team in the West Division, stopped the Blueshirts 3-0, handing Kitchener their fifth straight loss.
The Rangers managed only four shots in the opening period, while Saginaw took the 1-0 lead.
“The first period, we were not ready,” said head coach Chris Dennis. “We looked slow. We looked like we had never seen a puck before and they took it to us. [Goalie Marcus Vandenberg] was sensational to keep it at one as long as he could.”
He kept it at one until the third period, when the Spirit would add two more, one into an empty net.
Filip Mesar and Roman Schmidt both returned to the line-up, for Kitchener. Mesar was representing Slovakia at the World Junior Tournament and Schmidt was serving an automatic two-game suspension for a slew foot penalty.
Tomas Hamara, who won Silver with Czechia, did not play in the game for the Rangers, but his countryman Matyas Sapovaliv suited up for the Spirit.
This five game losing streak for Kitchener comes on the heels of a six game winning streak before the break.
“We had a good run. We've added some very important pieces to add to that run and I think we've kind of gotten away from what created that run,” said Dennis. That was working hard, that was playing face, that was playing with the puck, that was managing the puck, and we're away from that right now.”
The slow starts continue to dog his team, and he's looking for answers to right the ship.
“We have to be ready to start. We talk about it, we say we're going to be, and then you watch us come out and we're just not,” said Dennis. “We have a really tough time pulling ourselves out of it. We kind of get stuck in it and slowly, slowly, slowly come out of it, but it's never enough.”
Marcus Vandenberg started in goal, stopping 24 shots.
The Rangers are in Flint Saturday to face the Firebirds. The Harris Law Pregame show starts at 6:30 p.m. with Mike Farwell and Chris Pope.