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Exhibition thoughts

Training camp has come to an end and the exhibition schedule had begun for the Kitchener Rangers and the rest of the OHL's 20 teams. The Rangers cut 11 players after Wednesday's blue/white game which saw team white win it 6-5 in OT, on a Ben Thompson slap shot off an offensive zone faceoff.

Things got off to a rocky start for the Rangers as they were hammered 4-1 in their exhibition opener against the Brampton Battalion on Saturday afternoon at the Aud. Rangers goalie Frank Palazzese allowed 2 goals while Jack Moylan allowed one. Brampton's final goal was scored on an empty net. Ben Thompson scored the lone goal for the Rangers.

Monday's game got off to a much better start however, with the Rangers beating the Battalion 5-1 in Brampton. Palazzese kept the Battalion scoreless throughout a period and a half, while Moylan allowed one goal in the third. Matia Marcantuoni scored a beauty snipe in the first to make it 1-0, while Ben Fanelli picked up his first of the preseason on the power play to make it 2-0 before the period ended. Czech import player Radek Faksa scored on a 5 on 3 to start the second, followed by a quick play from Marcantuoni, Faksa and Thompson to make it 4-0. Josh Sterk picked up the final Rangers goal just before the midpoint of the second to make it 5-0 and close out the scoring for the Rangers.

As the regular season approaches (18 days =D), the time will come when trade rumours begin to circulate and the final roster begins to take shape. The Rangers had 10 defensemen listed on today's roster, along with 3 goalies and 17 forwards. At this point, it looks like Jack Moylan will be the Rangers third string goalie. John Gibson hasn't played a game in training camp or the exhibition schedule so far, however it is likely safe to say that he will be the number one goalie come September 23rd against Windsor.

Defenders Ryan Murphy, Jonathan Jasper, Jesse Young and Evan McEnemy did not dress for todays game. It goes without saying that Ryan Murphy will make the team this year. Jasper will either make the team as an over-ager and be expected to be a leader, or he will be traded, likely for some more scoring power up front. Young and McEnemy will likely be third string defenders this season. McEnemy really stepped his game up at the end of last season, and Young has a lot to prove after being sent home before the trade deadline last season. Cody Sol and Julian Melchiori both have potential to play for the Winnipeg Jets farm team this season. Both would be over-agers in the OHL should they return. As I said in my last blog, I think Sol will remain with the Jets farm team while Melchiori will return to Kitchener. Cory Genovese and Jarred Gilbert are two rookies in the league this season. Gilbert has impressed many but he still makes too many mistakes for me, such as taking too long to decide what to do with the puck. I think he'll be ready for the OHL next season. Genovese is not afraid to fight when need be, and he could very well be OHL ready if there is a roster spot open. Finally, Ben Fanelli will definitely be in the opening night lineup. For a guy who hasn't played in 2 years, he sure hasn't missed a beat. Can't wait to see him on the 23rd.

The forward situation is a little more complicated. All of the veterans have shown strong play so far, with notable play from Michael Hasson and Ben Thompson. Both players got bigger and stronger over the summer. Hasson definitely played in training camp like he wanted to prove me wrong and get one of the over-age spots. He had more goals in the blue/white games than he did all season last year. Hasson definitely proved that he can still play in this league, although he could be traded this season. Thompson has also finally shown that he may have made a good decision to not waive his no-trade clause last season. If you recall, he refused to go to Barrie in exchange for Taylor Carnevale, who instead went to Windsor. Thompson has played rough and tough hockey, which is exactly why he was brought here. The rest of the veterans are pretty much a lock to make the team, with all playing well throughout training camp.

Many of the new forwards are also playing very well. Coach Spott is definitely going to have some tough decisions to make. Brett Clampitt has showed he's not afraid to fight, and fight well. Brent Pedersen has also made a few good plays, however he could be the weak link. There's definitely strong potential for him to be a great player in the future, however I don't think he's there yet. Brandon Francisco, Josh Sterk, Brandon Lesway, Keli Grant, Curtis Meighan, and Radek Faksa round out the new names that Rangers fans will have to get used to hearing. All have potential to make the team. It certainly will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next few weeks.

Comments :

Anonymous said...

Thomson was never offered to the Petes for Spooner.Where did you come up with that?
It was to Barrie for Carnevale.

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