Pinelli pots three, pushing Rangers closer to fifth place

Pinelli pots three, pushing Rangers closer to fifth place

Francesco Pinelli notched his third career hat-trick and the Rangers romped the Erie Otters. Their playoff seed is still up in the air.

The playoff picture in the Ontario Hockey League’s Western Conference is about as clear as an Irish Stout. 

But with just two games remaining, the Kitchener Rangers hold their destiny in their own hands. 

Captain Francesco Pinelli potted his third career hat-trick, and the Blueshirts romped the Erie Otters 6-1 Wednesday, in Erie.  

The Otters scored first, but after the Rangers responded with a short-handed goal the game was never close. Kitchener dominated, in every aspect. 

“Once it gets to 4, or 5-1, you try and just keep reminding guys to do the right thing, and play the right way,” said general manager and coach, Mike McKenzie.

The win sets up a final weekend that would make Spielberg jealous.  Ready? Okay, here we go. 

The Rangers sit in sixth place. On Friday, they host the fifth-place Flint Firebirds. On Sunday, they’re in London to face the Knights. Rangers hold the tie-breakers against both Guelph and Flint. 

So, if Kitchener wins both games they’ll climb to fifth and play Saginaw in the first round. That means avoiding the Windsor Spitfires, London Knights, and Sarnia Sting – the Big Three – at the top of the Western Conference. 

The Firebirds are in Owen Sound to see the Attack, Saturday. If the Rangers win Friday, and Flint loses Saturday, Kitchener will finish fifth regardless of how the Blueshirts fare against London, Sunday. 

If the Rangers win Friday, and Flint wins Saturday, Kitchener will need to beat London Sunday to secure fifth.

Still with me? 

The skinny is if the Rangers want a crack at fifth place, they must win Friday against Flint, in their final regular season game at The Aud this year. 

“It’s going to be, basically, a playoff game,” said McKenzie. “They want fifth, they’re a competitive team. We want fifth, we’re a competitive team. It’s a good chance it comes down to that game.”


The pregame show begins at 7:00 p.m. with Mike Farwell and Chris Pope. Tickets are still available. 

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