The Kitchener Rangers are the third team on to the second round, joining London and Brampton, after their Friday Night victory over Owen Sound at the Kitchener Aud. The Rangers won the series in 5 games, the final one by a score of 4-2.
As I look back at this series, I have to say the better team won. While the Attack definitely showed up for games 2, 4 and 5, they didn't get the goaltending required from Scott Stajcer or Jordan Binnington, and the Rangers got a huge helping hand in the form of blue kryptonite as John Gibson stood tall throughout the series.
Another key aspect of this series was the officiating. When you ask fans on both sides, they'll say the each got screwed by the refs. Here's how I look at it: Both groups are right. On multiple occasions throughout this series the refs made multiple questionable calls, while also missing many many infractions that threatened to start fights in the stands. And it goes beyond the on ice officials as well. I am still trying to understand how Tyler Randell gets 10 games for his hit on Artur Gavrus. It is unfortunate that Gavrus got hurt on the play and did not return to the series however, when you look at that hit (which can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxbybpDKbNY) Gavrus clearly turns with his head down, and Randell catches him with his shoulder in the jaw.
Anyone who's met Tyler Randell off the ice knows he is not a vicious person. Randell could have certainly avoided Gavrus, but it was a hockey play and he was simply finishing his check. According to Brendan Shanahan, one playoff game is equal to 4 regular season games. 2-3 games would have sent the message loud and clear to Randell that he must avoid head contact. Apparently the OHL doesn't see it that way. And before any Attack fans get upset, I also agree that the hit Michael Halmo laid on Nail Yakupov was not at all worth 10 games, regular season or otherwise.
As we move forward from the first round, Kitchener's potential second round matchups are the Plymouth Whalers, Saginaw Spirit or Sarnia Sting. Personally I'd like Sarnia simply because it's a shorter drive, however I'm going with the Whalers to still take out the Storm in 6 or 7 games. Kitchener and Plymouth will be a good series for sure. I just hope its good for the right reasons.