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Kitchener Rangers captain Francesco Pinelli facing three game suspension

The Kitchener Rangers will be hitting the ice for game 4 against the Windsor Spitfires without their captain, Francesco Pinelli, after an incident during Tuesday night’s matchup.

Pinelli has been suspended for three games following a blind-side hit against a Spitfires player. At the time of the illegal hit, he was given a 5-minute major penalty before a lengthy review, which resulted in a game misconduct.

“I was kinda on the bench so didn’t really see it,” said Rangers player Matthew Sop. “I just saw the replay. It looked accidental to me, but I mean at the end of the day, like I said, it’s their call to make not ours."

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) confirmed the three game suspension on Wednesday.

“I don’t think it was malicious, he didn’t take a run or a charge at him. The guy was coming on from a line change. You don’t ever want to see anyone get injured that’s the last think you want,” said Rangers fan Chris Barlow. 

Pinelli will not be in the lineup for game 4 on home ice at the Kitchener Aud, where the underdog Rangers could sweep the top-ranked Spitfires.

“It’s their decision. I think it wasn’t that bad, but it’s their decision. We need to stick together and play for him,” said Rangers player Filip Mesar. 

A representative from OHL says Pinelli will be eligible to return in game 7 of the series, or the corresponding number of games in round two if Kitchener wins before that.

Rangers coach Mike McKenzie said the loss of their team captain would impact the Rangers when they hit the ice tonight.

“Gonna impact us on the ice, he’s obviously our captain and best player. But at the end of the day it’s something we don’t control. It is what it is and it’s the decision and we’ll just have to move on from it,” McKenzie said.

Earlier this season, Pinelli was served a three-game suspension aftaer an incident during a game against the Spitfires.

The Rangers said the incident occured on Nov. 20.

According to the OHL, he also received a 5-minute major for cross-checking on Jan. 31 but was not assessed supplementary discipline in that instance.

“I think it’s a fair suspension. When you get tossed from the game and there’s a five minute major you know there’s a suspension coming,” said Spitfires fan Terry Ellenberger.


According to the Kitchener Rangers, the largest crowd in the last decade is expected to descend upon the Aud for Game four.

Dominic Hennig, senior director of communication for the Rangers, said 7,330 tickets have been sold, including the Aud selling out standing room only.

The Rangers ticket availability shows no tickets are available to purchase for Thursday nights game.

A win on home ice tonight would mean the Rangers advance to the second round, where they will face either the London Knights or the Owen Sound Attack. Top Stories

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