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Rangers still looking for 60 minute effort, says coach

Marco Costantini, making his Rangers debut in net, stopped 29 of 32 in a 4-1 loss to Owen Sound
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Logo from the Kitchener Rangers.

Responding to adversity wasn't Kitchener's strong suit Friday night.

"I thought the first seven, eight minutes of the game, we looked pretty good," said Rangers head coach Chris Dennis. "I think we had a goal scored against us, which those things happen, and then we had a few guys that just went completely on to their own program.

"It cost us another goal, and chances and momentum."

A two-goal first period was all the Owen Sound Attack needed in a 4-1 win over the Blueshirts at the Aud.

They outshot the Rangers 14-5 through 20 minutes – "we looked like we didn't know what we were doing," said Dennis – giving Marco Costantini a good test in his Rangers debut.

The good news, he said, the Rangers "that I know, that I coach every week, that practices hard, that pays attention showed up" for the final 40 minutes.

Adrian Misaljevic made it a 2-1 game about six minutes into the second, tipping a point shot from Hunter Brzustewicz. But that was all they could get by Nick Chenard in front of over 5,400 fans.

"There's some positives from the second and third, but we can't keep having the same conversations at 0-5," Dennis said. "We need some people to just do the right thing and step up and be committed for a full 60."

This includes what many around the rink would call the best five minutes of play for the Rangers this year, pinning the Attack in their own zone for the first five of the third period.

However, they did everything but bulge the twine.

Costantini stopped 29 of 32 shots in the loss, less than 24 hours removed from being traded from the defending OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs.

"He was terrific," Dennis said of his new netminder. "He was calm in the net. He's always in position. Even the ones that went in, he's right there, not much I don't think he can do about any of them, quite frankly.

"It was good to just have a calming presence down there, an obvious winner and I think most of the team responded really well."

Colby Barlow potted three for the Attack, finishing the hat trick with an empty netter with 25 seconds left in regulation.

The Rangers will look to right the ship Sunday afternoon when the Flint Firebirds visit Kitchener.

Pregame is at 1:30 p.m. on CityNews 570.

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