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Streak of seven straight losses snapped by Rangers

'It starts with one. There's our one. So, now it's our time to roll.' said overage forward Reid Valade
Kitchener Rangers forward Reid Valade

It's the kind of moment that can turn a season around. 

With the Kitchener Rangers and Saginaw Spirit tied at two in the second period, Kitchener defenceman Matt Andonovski was hit from behind Sunday, and went hard into the boards. 

Captain Francesco Pinelli came to his defence, dropping the gloves with Ian Phillips of the Saginaw Spirit. 

"We loved that. I don't think [Phillips] was expecting the lefts to come out," said overager Reid Valade.

Phillips started strong, but Pinelli ended stronger. It seemed to spark the team. The Rangers scored on the ensuing power-play, and stopped the Spirit 4-3. 

"You love to see your captain stand up for a teammate," said head coach Chris Dennis. "It's exciting for our guys. It shows how much passion and care he has for his teammates."

"When he steps up for guys like that, and shows great leadership, it sends a message to the rest of the team he's here to win and he's there for us," added Valade.

Mitchell Martin scored the game-winner. It was his first goal since returning Friday, from missing 21 games after undergoing wrist surgery. 

Kitchener fell behind 1-0, but Valade scored twice in the first period to send the Rangers into the intermission with a lead. 

In the final minutes of the game, Valade had multiple chances at his first OHL hat-trick, but couldn't bring hats flying. 

"It seems to be the story of my life, when I have two goals, I can't seem to buy one," laughed the Caledon native. 

Sunday was Valade's 11th multi-goal game of his Kitchener career, and third this season. 

Marcus Vandenberg picked up the win in goal, stopping 34 shots. The much needed win comes ahead of a Tuesday night match-up with the London Knights, who come in to the Aud losers of three straight. 

Mike Farwell and Chris Pope will have the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m. on CityNews 570.

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