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Nothing guaranteed with six games remaining for Rangers

It's a tight race for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference, and the Rangers missed out on crucial points over the weekend in Erie
FILE. Kitchener Rangers captain Francesco Pinelli competes against the Erie Otters in a game at the Aud earlier this season.

One point could make all the difference as the Kitchener Rangers, Erie Otters and Sarnia Sting battle for two playoff positions in the Western Conference.

And if the Rangers end up the ones on the outside looking in, this past weekend will likely be one they look back on as a missed opportunity to collect the crucial points needed.

After getting a single point in Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss in Erie, the Otters made a statement with a 6-2 victory over the Rangers on Sunday afternoon.

"Not much needs to be said after a game like that," Rangers coach and general manager Mike McKenzie said after Sunday's game.

"From start to finish, they out worked us and we deserved to lose, and we did."

Erie took a three-goal lead, including two goals 43 seconds apart early in the second, and never looked back.

Mike Petizian and Francesco Pinelli had goals for the Rangers. But for the captain, the losing effort doesn't feel good.

"The main message is the playoffs are coming up, so we got to wake up here," Pinelli said. "This is where we have to really grind it out and get wins cause we need points to get into the playoffs."

"We're not for sure in the playoffs yet, so games like this were huge and we lost so it's not acceptable."

It could be that it's the second consecutive three-in-three weekend, and the team put on a lot of mileage.

But as Pinelli said, the schedule is the schedule, and they have to play through it.

With six games to go, things won't get any easier.

Kitchener wraps up the home portion of their schedule this Friday against Sarnia, who are currently the team on the outside, but just four points back of the Rangers (the Sting have a game in hand to boot).

After that, it's a five-game road swing to finish the year: twice in Owen Sound, and once in Erie, London and Guelph.


Mark Pare

About the Author: Mark Pare

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