The two most beautiful words in sport: Game 7.
After two years without playoffs, of course the Kitchener Rangers and the London Knights are going the distance in their first-round match-up.
“It's London Kitchener. It's Game 7 (...) Can't ask for much more than that,” said head coach Mike McKenzie.
The Knights had the Rangers on the brink of elimination heading into Game 6 Tuesday, but Kitchener answered the bell, big time.
London was dealt a blow before the game, with news of Antonio Stranges being out of the Knights line-up with a non-Covid related illness.
He was the series leader in points.
Carson Rehkopf, Trent Swick, and Reid Valade scored their first goals of the postseason, and what better timing.
Rehkopf would add his second for a four-goal second period for the Blueshirts.
“Whether it's him or [Adrian] Miseljevic with the 5-2 goal, at a key time. You can't rely on the big boys every single game,” said McKenzie. “That's what playoffs are about, in any league. It's having those guys in the second tier stepping up when you need them to.”
The offence was all Paval Cajan needed. The Rangers routed the Knights 5-2 to face Game 7 in London.
Cajan, who was pulled for Jackson Parsons in Game 3, picked up second star honours stopping 38 Knights shots.
It shouldn't come as a shock. The Czechia-native was pulled twice during the regular season and both times responded with allowing just two goals, and a plus-.940 save percentage.
Cajan's Game 6 numbers: 2.00 GAA & .950 SV%.
“He was sick for Game 3,” said McKenzie. “Every time we've needed a win this year, we've put him in. We're comfortable with Jackson, but at the end of the day, Pav's been our guy when we needed a win, and we needed a win tonight so we went back with Pav.”
As for how Kitchener prepares for a winner-takes-all game, Rangers overage forward Navrin Mutter knows what they need to do.
“We get to bed early tonight, and go to sleep, drink lots of water,” said the Lucan, ON native who's pretty excited to play a deciding game in front of friends and family. “I think of myself at 10 years old, and could never dream of this day.”
Pregame Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on CityNews 570 with Mike Farwell and Chris Pope.