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Can they win the series at home? Rangers look to eliminate Windsor Spitfires at the Aud this week

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The Kitchener Rangers are bringing the playoffs back to home ice after taking down the number one-seeded Windsor Spitfires in back-to-back game action.

The Rangers are now looking to make the most of home-ice advantage as the best of seven first-round Ontario Hockey League (OHL) playoff series comes to The Aud on Tuesday.

Team Captain Francesco Pinelli said he thinks the Rangers could take the series and move into the second round.

“We know who we are in the room and what we're capable of doing so I think we have a really good chance to take the series, but we just have to stay focused and keep chipping away every game,” he told CTV News Monday.

Pegged as the underdog, the Blueshirts left Windsor on a high after securing a 5-3 win in game one and dominating in game two with a 4-0 shutout.

If the Rangers can keep up the pressure at home and take game three, they have a chance to eliminate the Spitfires on home ice Thursday night.

“Our details have been good, [and] we've been playing hard, so stick with the formula that's been getting us there and don't start reverting into bad habits and thinking it's going to be easy, it's easy to do, but we're going to see a desperate team tomorrow night fighting for their lives,” said Mike McKenzie, interim coach and general manager of the Kitchener Rangers.

McKenzie said he knew the Rangers had a challenge ahead of them going into the playoffs.

“We knew whoever we got was gonna be tough. It ended up being Windsor. So, we knew it was going to be a big challenge for us. They've been in first place basically the whole season, start to finish,” said McKenzie.

MATTHEW SOP GOES FROM FAN TO PLAYER

Kitchener native Matthew Sop has found his scoring touch, netting two of the team's nine goals over the opening two games in Windsor.

“I like our energy in our room, and I think we're bringing that into every game, we've got that underdog mentality, and it seems to be working out so far,” said Sop. “It felt great. I always love scoring for the boys. I mean, I know everyone gets hyped up for it, and I get just as hyped when they score, so it feels good.”

Sop is expecting a raucous crowd to fill the Aud Tuesday night.

He knows the passion of cheering on Rangers-greats first-hand, something he did as a young fan.

“I can't put any fingers on it 'cuz I was so young, but I mean, I just remember how loud, getting loud, doing the wave, in the nosebleeds every single time, and yeah, I just loved it. I was a huge fan, so it's crazy to be where I am right now,” said Sop.

TICKETS ARE SELLING FAST

More than 5,000 tickets have been sold for the contest, and with ticket sales climbing, the team is hoping for a deep playoff run.

“A playoff run for the Kitchener Rangers is a big deal for the city as a whole, for the building, for the economy and revenues that it brings into our city,” Dominic Hennig, senior director of communications for the Kitchener Rangers said.

The Rangers, facing off with a desperate Windsor team, may mean leaning on the fans for a boost.

Meanwhile, Pinelli said the Rangers are excited to get back to the Aud

“I felt that way this whole season. I knew we had more to give and we're starting to give a lot more. We just got to keep going with that and stay focused,” he said.

Pinelli added that the last 20 games are when the Rangers really hit their stride and started playing how he knew they should be.

Information on getting tickets can be found by clicking here.

The Rangers will look to take another stride toward a first-round upset Tuesday night with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

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