Rangers sweep away attack

RYAN PYETTE, Free Press Sports Reporter

, Last Updated: 12:23 PM ET

KITCHENER -- The Kitchener Rangers didn't defeat the London Knights all season but they did beat them to the OHL's Western Conference final. The Rangers, who were Memorial Cup champions two years ago, became the first team to punch a ticket into the OHL's third round with a 5-3 victory and a shocking four-game sweep of the Owen Sound Attack before 6,302 last night at Kitchener's Memorial Auditorium.

With his team clinging to a 4-3 third-period lead, 18-year-old forward Patrick Davis capitalized on an Owen Sound turnover at the Attack blue-line and flipped the puck over goalie Mike Brown's blocker with eight minutes left to cement the Rangers' eighth straight playoff victory and a likely date with London starting next week.

"Everyone knew since September the playoff trail would probably go through London," Rangers head coach Peter DeBoer. "We're just happy to be where we are. Our team is playing well right now."

The Knights, who have won seven straight postseason games, can join the Rangers in the conference final if they finish a sweep of the Windsor Spitfires tonight at the John Labatt Centre. No matter what happens tonight, the OHL's third round cannot start until the league-designated Tuesday, April 19.

"We're pumped about the opportunity. We're peaking at the right time," said Rangers forward Craig Voakes, a St. Thomas native. "I can tell you one thing -- we're not going to get smoked 4-0 like Owen Sound did. It'll go to six or seven -- six at least."

Kitchener captain Michael Richards, Londoner Justin Azevedo and Voakes each scored in the game's first eight minutes as the Rangers built a 3-1 first-period lead.

"I'm going home and I'm really excited," the 17-year-old Azevedo said. "(The Knights are) going to see a different team than they did earlier in the season. We're feeling pretty confident about our team right now and we're on a roll."

There's no telling if a week's rest will cool off the red-hot Richards.

The 20-year-old Kenora native and Philadelphia Flyers' first-round draft pick had a goal and assist last night and leads the OHL playoff scoring race over Knights star and Canadian national junior teammate Corey Perry. Richards has eight goals and 21 points in 10 games. Perry has 19 points.

"You don't think about beating a team like the Knights -- you just go out and put it all on the line and see what happens," Richards said.

"The playoffs are a funny time and you never know. Both teams will be well rested."

Despite the hour's drive between the two cities, London and Kitchener have only met in the OHL postseason three times in the past 30 years.

RANGERS 5

ATTACK 3


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