Kitchener Rangers preparing to embark on another run at the playoffs
The OHL playoffs are set to begin this week with the Kitchener Rangers ready to drop the puck for their first round series against the Windsor Spitfires.
Wednesday morning marked the team’s last full practice before heading to Windsor.
The team knows what they need to do in the series against the western-leading Windsor team, and that’s secure four wins to get to the second round.
The Rangers and Spitfires have gone head to head four times this year, with Windsor winning all four meetings and outscoring Kitchener 25 to13.
Leading the charge for Windsor is the OHL’s leading corer Matthew Maggio and the NHL’s fourth overall pick Shane Wright.
The Rangers are coming off an inconsistent season, which included the firing of first-year head coach Chris Dennis.
The general manager and interim head coach, Mike McKenzie, described the season as a “rollercoaster ride.”
He said everyone gets a clean slate though, and once the playoffs begin, the team needs to be ready to flip the switch – especially when playing a team like Windsor.
"Those guys can all put the puck in the net. They’ve been a high-powered, high-flying offence all season. That’s going to be an important part of the series. I don’t think we’re going to shut them down completely, but we gotta do a good job on them. Usually things ramp up throughout the year, but playoffs is a whole different level,” said McKenzie.
The Rangers captain said the team is really excited for the playoffs.
“They got some good players, but we have a really deep locker room as well. It’s going to be really fun, and were really excited to play Thursday," said team captain Francesco Pinelli
Pinelli said they plan the team already has a game plan for the upcoming first series.
"Staying focused, playing with speed and confidence and playing smart," he said.
Tickets are still available for games 3 and 4 at the Kitchener Aud scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday next week.
Four thousand tickets have been sold for the playoffs so far.
“Attendance wise, the first year after COVID we couldn’t be happier with the support that we receive from the city. And it’s still growing,” said Dominic Hennig, the senior director of broadcasting, communications and hockey operations.
If you’re a Guelph Storm fan they will be in Sarnia to open their series against the Sting on Friday.
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