ERIE, Pa. - Even a depleted Kitchener Rangers lineup was able to dominate the Erie Otters.
Jeremy Morin scored a natural hat trick as the Rangers continued their season-long mastery of the Otters with a 6-1 Ontario hockey League win on Monday night.
The Otters (21-17-7) have lost the first four meetings in the eight-game season series against the Midwest Division rival Rangers by a combined 21-4 score.
The Rangers (29-12-4) arrived in Erie without OHL goals leader Jeff Skinner (CHL top prospects game), injured defenceman Jonathan Jasper and injured forwards Tyler Randell and Gabriel Landeskog. Banged-up winger Mike Mascioli dressed but didn't have a shift in the game.
But the Rangers were ready to play from the start, while the Otters were lifeless.
Goaltender Adam Courchaine and the Otters' defence allowed goals on Kitchener's first two shots - Andrew Crescenzi at the 4:17 mark and Julian Cimadamore 35 seconds later.
Cimadamore scored again midway through the first period to extend the Rangers' lead to 3-0.
The Otters responded on the power play, as Shawn Szydlowski beat goaltender Mike Morrison from in front with 3:26 left in the period.
Morin, an Atlanta Thrashers' prospect, fired a wrist past Courchaine with 2:06 left, essentially ending Courchaine's night. Rookie Ramis Sadikov replaced him to start the second period.
Like Courchaine, Sadikov allowed a goal on his first shot, as Morin scored 18 seconds into the period.
Morin completed his hat trick - his third three-goal game of the season - by deflecting Christian Stevens' point shot past Sadikov with 8:56 left in the third.
Morrison made 30 saves in earning the win in his first start of the season.
Stevens and Catenacci had two assists apiece.