Sop lifts Kitchener Rangers to 3-2 overtime win over Guelph Storm

The Kitchener Rangers snapped a season-high five-game losing streak in comeback fashion.

Matthew Sop tied the game with 41.9 seconds left in regulation, then got the winner on a penalty shot in overtime for a 3-2 Kitchener victory over the visiting Guelph Storm on Friday night.

Sop was awarded the penalty shot after he was tied up by Storm defenceman Tommy Budnick while trying to get a shot off.

“You never really expected to get a penalty shot in the game,” said Sop. “But I was lucky to get one and happy that it went in.”

Zander Veccia scored his 10th of the season, his second goal for the Storm, late in the first period to put Guelph up 1-0 after the first period. Then Jett Luchanko put the Storm up 2-0 with his 16th on the year early in the second.

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The Rangers (31-16-2-0) had plenty of chances to score in the first two periods but pucks either missed the net or were stopped by Storm netminder Damian Slavik (22 saves).

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It wasn’t until 4:07 of the third that the Rangers were able to get on the board on a goal by Filip Mesar. Then Sop tied it up after Jackson Parsons (25 saves) was lifted for a sixth attacker and the Rangers applied the pressure in the Storm’s zone to get the equalizer.

“It’s never fun to lose but we never lost hope,” said Sop on the Rangers’ losing streak. “(Head coach Jussi Ahokas) does a great job keeping us the same day in, day out no matter we win or lose.”

It was a tough loss for the Storm (25-18-3-1) who have now dropped their third in a row. But the coaching staff were pleased with the effort by the team.

“I thought it was a really focused effort by our group,” said Storm Assistant Coach Rob Collins. “It’s unfortunate we came out with one point but we’ll build on that.”

The next game for the Storm is Sunday afternoon when they host the London Knights at Sleeman Centre. You can listen to the game on 1460 CJOY beginning with the pre-game show at 3:45 p.m.

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