Beating the Windsor Spitfires wasn't going to be easy.
But, it was made even more difficult when overage forward Reid Valade was kicked out of the game, in the first period, after a match penalty for slew footing.
“He got his leg under him and pulled back. It was a match. It's hard to argue,” said McKenzie.
The team was already without Danny Zhilkin, who was still at home with the flu.
The Spitfires got a hat-trick from exceptional-status-player Shane Wright and clipped Kitchener 6-3, with two empty-net goals.
The Rangers held the lead just past the midway point of the third period, thanks to two goals from Matt Sop. The Kitchener kid gave his hometown club the lead with his 21st of the year, on the penalty-kill. Give him six goals in the last five games. Last season he had 21 points.
But, a few minutes later Wright was left untouched in front of the net and banged home his second of the game, off a Ranger defender.
“I thought that was an area of weakness for us tonight, being a little more desperate in the slot area, and we gave them too many chances,” said McKenzie. “Just a couple bad breaks. You win some, you lose some. They're a good hockey team.”
Yes, they are. The Spitfires sit second in the Western Conference, leading their division, after making it to Game 7 of the Ontario Hockey League finals last year.
The Rangers loss, paired with an Owen Sound win, lands Kitchener back in eighth place. They're one point back of Guelph and Owen Sound, and three back of Flint with a game in-hand on the Firebirds.
It doesn't get easier for Kitchener, either. They're in Sarnia this afternoon to see the Sting.
The 'Bees' are the hottest team in the OHL, with points in their last eleven games.
The pregame show starts at 1:30 p.m., on CityNews 570.