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Special teams, effort, and Ryan Murphy


Early on in the game against Belleville, it was obvious that Kitchener was going to take the Bulls lightly. The boys in blue had a few good chances in the first period, even capitalizing on one, but Kitchener did not appear to be ready for this game from the get go.

Belleville on the other hand was very ready. Malcolm Subban was outstanding in his first game back in over a month, turning away 34 shots. His first big save came off a Ryan Murphy streak early in the first period, as murph deke'd around 4 Belleville players only to be stymied by the glove of Subban. He definitely kept the bulls close in the first and, the rest of the team took over from there. The Bulls outshot Kitchener 18-11 in the second period, which they finished with a 2-1 lead. This has been the second straight Friday night where Kitchener has been severely outshot overall, and especially in the second period.

Effort and motivation continue to be an issue for Kitchener (unless they're playing the Knights apparently). The Rangers haven't been able to put together a 60 minute effort night in and night out for the past couple seasons. Something has to change here. Surely by now, guys like Michael Cattenacci and Cody Sol have learned that you can't win a game in this league if you only play for 15 minutes. I think if Kitchener had remained focused in the third period they could have won this game. How many times does this lesson have to be learned? It's frustrating as a fan to watch this cycle repeat, I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for a player.

How about special teams? Kitchener sits 15th in the league on the power play (17.5%) and 17th on the penalty kill (78.6%). This again has been a common theme over the past couple seasons. It's hard to win championships if you can't score on the power play. I'm not sure if it's complacency, or a lack of skill, but the power play, to put it bluntly, sucks.

If there is one bright note, Ryan Murphy has absolutely woken up and is playing the way everyone in Kitchener and Carolina has been expecting him to. Murph has rocketed in to 7th overall in scoring by a defenseman. He has 19 points in his last 8 games including 6 goals and 13 assists. Very impressive for a guy who started the season in an extremely disappointing manner. Keep it up Murph!

The rangers look to rebound Sunday when the Saginaw Spirit visit the Aud. Expect another exciting matchup against a team who has the potential to be the a first round playoff opponent.

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