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Kopacka Hat-Trick Gives Greyhounds 3-2 Series Lead In Home Game Win Over Rangers

Sunday BIG Game For Rangers...

The trend of the home team winning each game of the Western Conference Final continued in the Soo on Friday night.

Jack Kopacka scored a hat-trick and added an assist as the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defeated the Kitchener Rangers, 7-3, in front of a crowd of 4,882 fans at the Essar Centre in Game 5.

The Greyhounds now lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for Sunday, April 29 at 2pm at The Aud.

Tickets to Game 6 in Kitchener are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online before 1pm Sunday, in person or by calling Centre in the Square (519) 578-1570 -or- 1-800-265-8977 (no phone sales on Sunday), or at the Activa Box Office at The Aud from 10am-2pm on Saturday, and 11am-3pm on Sunday.

More details regarding purchase options are listed below.

Friday’s Game 5 was in stark contrast to a Game 4 completely dominated by the Rangers as the home side held the Blueshirts to less than ten shots on goal each period, outshooting Kitchener 13-5 in the first, 19-9 in the second and 12-6 in the third for a game total of 44-20.

Therefore, Mario Culina was again busy in goal for the Rangers but this time, was unable to backstop his team to victory as the Rangers now face a must-win in Sunday’s Game 6 to keep their season alive.

The Greyhounds got on the board first and skated into the first intermission leading 3-2, but just 1:16 into the second period the Rangers cut the deficit to 3-2 and were right back in the game, despite being boldly outshot.

But three straight goals by the Greyhounds – two late in the second just 1:15 apart, and one less than five minutes into the third – extended their lead to 6-2 and created a hole the Blueshirts were unable to climb out of.

Jacob LeGuerrier opened the game’s scoring for the Hounds with his first of the playoffs, from Barrett Hayton and Mac Hollowell, at 2:09 of the first period.

But less than two minutes later Nick McHugh tallied his third of the post season to answer back, making it a 1-1 game, from Joseph Garreffa and Rickard Hugg at 3:54.

Another goal came in quick succession but this time it was on the stick of the Soo, as Kopacka’s first of the game restored the home team’s lead, 2-1, from Boris Katchouk at 5:05. Before the period was out the Hounds would add another, as Keeghan Howdeshell from Taylor Raddysh at 14:58 made it 3-1 Soo to round out first period scoring.

Brown’s goal just 1:16 into the second period, from Kole Sherwood and Michael Vukojevic, got the Rangers right back in it, and the teams would play through the one-goal game for the majority of the second period until a pair of Greyhounds goals created some separation.

Tim Gettinger registered the game’s first power play marker to restore a two-goal cushion for the Soo, from Howdeshell and Kopacka at 17:10 before Kopacka’s second of the night made it 5-2, from Jordan Sambrook, to round out scoring in the first 40 minutes.

Just under five minutes into the final stanza the Hounds added to their lead, making it a 6-2 game on LeGuerrier’s second, from Sambrook and Joe Carroll at 4:26.

Sherwood earned his 13th goal of the playoffs at 8:07, a power play marker from Jack York and Giovanni Vallati cut the lead in half, but in an attempt to close the gap the Rangers pulled Culina, and Kopacka dumped in the empty netter at 19:05.

Culina would finish the night making 37 saves on 43 shots. Matthew Villalta made 17 saves, surrendering three goals.

Both teams were 1-for-4 with the man advantage.

Barrett Hayton (SSM) (3), Jack Kopacka (SSM) (2), and Jacob LeGuerrier (SSM) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.

Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Logan Brown each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.

Tickets to all Kitchener Rangers home playoff games for Round 3 are $28.00 each for adults, $24.00 for children 12 and under including HST. Tickets to Game 6 are available in person at the Activa Box Office at The Aud, in person or by calling Centre in the Square (519) 578-1570 -or- 1-800-265-8977, or by purchasing online here.

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