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Rangers open season with 4-3 win over Windsor

Pedersen, Thompson, Meighan and Rieder score for the Rangers last night at the Aud. A quick start to this one, as the Rangers got off to a one goal lead just 2 minutes in to the first. Thompson would add to the lead a few minutes later on the power play. The rangers would then get themselves into penalty trouble in the latter half of the first and heading in to the second. Radek Faksa was called for tripping and joined Evan McEnemy who was in the box already. The Spits didn't take long to capitalize on the 5-on-3 as Zack MacQueen beat John Gibson to make it 2-1.

A quick start to the second period saw the spits jump out to a 3-2 lead before most fans had even found their seats. Michael Clarke scored for the spits to tie it up, just 40 seconds before Faksa and Michael Hasson were sent to the box at the same time. Windsor would capitalize on the 5-on-3 again to give them the lead.

The third period got off to an explosive start as Matia Marcantuoni was crushed hard into the glass next to the Windsor bench. The glass shattered around him as glass rained over the area. Marcantuoni quickly left the ice and went to the dressing room to shake off. After a 30 minute delay, the game resumed. The game was tied around the 10 minute mark. Curtis Meighan scored on a pretty play from Hasson and Jared Gilbert. The Rangers turned on the pressure throughout the rest of the period, with Tobias Rieder finally beating John Cullen with 1:30 to go in the game.

Overall, it was a very entertaining game. However there was a few serious holes. The Rangers PP needs a lot of work. Of course there missing the star Ryan Murphy, but they left a lot to be desired. They had a very hard time setting up and getting good shots in on the PP. On the other hand the PK played well. Not perfect, but well. Windsor's power play already looks to be in mid-season form, but during 5-on-5 play both teams looked pretty boring. Neither got a lot going. There was a lot of back and forth play and a few good shots, but overall there needed to be a little bit more.

Prior to the game I chatted with new Rangers netminder Franky Palazzese. He told me he's very excited to be playing with the Rangers, calling them the best organization in the league. He also said he was happy to get away from his demons in Kingston and try to start fresh here in Kitchener. Overall Franky felt that his exhibition play was pretty good, which I think most fans would agree with. The Rangers overall played very well in front of him which he said made it pretty easy for him. He added though that it's time to move on and focus on the regular season. Franky's said his plan for dealing with the pressure that's regularly put on Rangers goaltenders was to try not to think about it, and think team first. He compared it to being a goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs; always under the microscope.

Franky likes to consider himself an underdog. This is part of the inspiration for his new mask. Rocky Balboa is featured, who was a childhood hero of his. The mask also features Don Cherry, a tribute to the man from Kingston who is always focused on the Canadian troops. Franky said this is a main reason why he has him on his mask. He also has an Italian flag and a cross on the back.

Overall his goals for the season include proving that he has what it takes to push Gibsn for the number one spot, as well as hopefully achieve an NHL contract after being passed over in the draft. However, he repeated that his focus is always team first. Something I think is great to hear.

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