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Valade leads Rangers to third straight win over London

Reid Valade scored twice for the third straight matchup against the Knights
FILE. Kitchener Rangers forward Reid Valade.

Reid Valade has become quite the Knight slayer lately.

He had his third straight multi-goal game against London, and helped the Kitchener Rangers to a 4-2 win over the Knights Tuesday night at the Aud.

Valade now has 13 points, including eight goals in eight games against the rivals down the 401 this year.

"He's been huge for us," Rangers coach Mike McKenzie said of Kitchener's 2018 first-round pick, who eclipsed the century mark for career points with Tuesday's effort.

"He's a guy that on the ice, you see his contribution at both ends of the rink. He scores, he creates with speed, he plays with energy. Defensively, he's really good. He's reliable, you can trust him to do the job."

"And he's a great kid off the ice, and a hard working kid. He's a pleasure to have around here, and he's had a great year for us."

His line provided all the offense Tuesday. Joseph Serpa and Mike Petizian put the Rangers up by three halfway through the second period, after Valade scored shorthanded in the opening frame.

That Serpa goal though, a highlight reel tally, going end-to-end, dancing through the Knights defense as he entered the zone before pocketing his 14th of the year.

Needless to say, the top line has been a bright spot for the Rangers as of late.

"I think we're all just on the same page," Valade said. "Our communication has been great. In practice, we're talking and thinking and working out things, sending each other video clips on off days and stuff."

"It helps to play with two great skilled guys like that, and it's really nice we've all had some success."

In the midst of all that, London's star goaltender Brett Brochu went down with injury late in the first period.

The Knights did try mounting a comeback, and got to within a goal.

The first of those Knights goals came amid controversy, as Max McCue shoved Simon Motew from behind going behind the net, knocking him down, scooping up the puck and finding Camaryn Baber skating in for a wrister from the hash marks.

Valade sealed the deal with an empty net goal with 54 seconds left.

Pavel Cajan made 37 saves to help the Rangers to their third straight victory, and their third straight win over London.

This, after London collected 24 wins in the previous 29 contests against the Rangers.

Is there something in the water?

McKenzie doesn't think so.

"I think it's just one of those things that happen," he said.

"It's just the way the league works. Teams are streaky, you catch teams at the right or wrong time, they had some key players out."

The Knights were without, among others, their usual top defensive pairing of Kirill Stecklov and Logan Mailloux.

And now with no immediate timeline on Brochu's injury, the Knights are quickly becoming the walking wounded.

The Rangers, meantime, have won three straight games for the first time since early December.

They'll be in tough to make it four straight, heading up north for a back-to-back against the Soo Greyhounds, beginning Friday night.

Mark Pare

About the Author: Mark Pare

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