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Rangers Win OHL Championship

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Mike Duco
Ahh. Nothing like a Game 7 in hockey. Especially when it’s for the league championship. It’s win or go home and you certainly do not want to go home. 60 minutes of pure excitement. Heck sometimes it's more than 60 minutes of pure excitement.

For Belleville and Kitchener, it was the chance to win the OHL Championship and the J. Ross Robertson Cup. Kitchener held the home-ice advantage while Belleville held the momentum, winning the last three games of the series after losing the first three.

The home-ice advantage won out as Kitchener claimed the OHL Championship with a 4-1 victory Monday night.

The home crowd seemed to propel the Rangers right from the start of the game as they came out flying. They put shot after shot on Mike Murphy, the Bulls netminder in the first period, and except for Mashinster’s second of the playoffs, he was up to the challenge, stopping 20 shots.

Kitchener again controlled play in the second, outshooting Belleville 15-9 but it didn’t matter because they were still only up one goal heading into the third, though it was a 2-1 advantage. Nick Spaling scored the eventual winner and his 14th of the post season 1:31 into the period as the Rangers were on the power play but Belleville got it’s only goal from Panthers prospect Shawn Matthias, also on the power play with 6:15 remaining in the period. Matthias was making his 2008 playoff debut as mononucleosis had kept him sidelined until Monday’s game.

Kitchener scored both goals in the third period as Nazem Kadri made it a 3-1 game 6:18 into the period and Mike Duco made it a 4-1 affair with his empty net goal with 49 seconds remaining, giving him 16 in the playoffs.

Kitchener finished with a 51-27 shot advantage for the game.

Matthias had that goal and finished a -3 while Duco, with that goal was a +2 and had a high sticking penalty with 3:26 remaining in the second period.

Both teams will be battling it out again, this time in the Memorial Cup as Kitchener opens up play on Friday against Gatineau (QMJHL) while Belleville starts their quest on Saturday against Spokane (WHL).

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