By Jordan Ercit
Kitchener Post staff
Time to pull out the acid-wash jeans and pop the Twisted Sister cassette tape into the car stereo: It’s 80s Night at The Aud.
As such, the Rangers (22-13-1-5) will pay homage to the 1982 Memorial Cup team and wear commemorative jerseys tonight when the Sarnia Sting (24-14-0-3, first in the West Division) visit at 7:30 p.m.
The jerseys, which will also be worn March 10 during their final home game of the year against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, will be offered as prizes during the team’s Fan Appreciation Celebration.
The 1981-82 Rangers captured the franchise’s first Memorial Cup in Hull, Que., against the Sherbrooke Castors and included future hockey hall-of-famers Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens.
Future Stanley Cup champions Wendell Young and Brian Bellows were also part of the Joe Crozier-coached team that went 44-21-3-0 in the regular season and beat Brian Kilrea’s Ottawa 67’s in the OHL championship.
KITCHENER NOTES: The Rangers added all sorts of firepower to the lineup this week and it showed Tuesday during a 6-2 win over Guelph — just not in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Peterborough Petes on Thursday.
Josh Leivo, the team’s new top scorer by 18 points, added a goal and an assist against Guelph. Frank Corrado, now their top offensive defenceman, set up another. Matia Marcantuoni, Brent Pedersen, Eric Ming, Justin Bailey and Ben Fanelli also torched the Storm.
They did this without Matt Puempel (shoulder, day-to-day) and Radek Faksa (world juniors, due to arrive Thursday) too. Meanwhile, John Gibson is in town but had Tuesday off to rest as Joel Vienneau, just a couple of hours after arriving from Sudbury, picked up his first win as a Ranger.
Defenceman Jared Gilbert left the game early with a deep bruise above the knee, but returned in time for Thursday’s game in Peterborough as former Ranger Nick Czinder torched his old club with a goal.
Evan McEneny and Pedersen scored for Kitchener. Vienneau made 32 saves.
Meanwhile, the Rangers will be without Corrado (Vancouver), Gibson (Anaheim), Radek Faksa (Dallas) and Ryan Murphy (Carolina) for an indefinite period of time after the foursome were invited to NHL training camps.
Bailey also leaves next week for the CHL top prospects game Jan. 16 in Halifax.
SARNIA NOTES: The Sting have been hurting in net recently, but arrive in Kitchener second in the Western Conference.
With overage No. 1 J.P. Anderson nursing a sore groin and backup Brodie Barrick out for several weeks, local minor midget-AAA grad Ryan Hergott was able to pull on an OHL sweater for the first time. He has yet to see game action, however, with 19-year-old Knicholas Dawe picking up the slack in net.
Sarnia also got bad news Thursday with top defenceman Connor Murphy needing season-ending surgery on his knee.
Meanwhile, if Montreal Canadiens prospect Alex Galchenyuk doesn’t suit up tonight, the Sting still boast a pair of players in the top-10 in OHL scoring. Charles Sarault is second with 63 points and Reid Boucher is eighth with 53 points.
Despite playing eight fewer games than Sarault, Galchenyuk is fourth in the OHL with 61 points.
Unlike other Western Conference contenders like Kitchener, London, Owen Sound and Plymouth, the Sting made a few minor moves before Thursday’s OHL trade deadline, adding former Brown University defenceman Taki Pantziris in a trade with the Guelph Storm and swapping Justice Dundas to Oshawa for Tyler Hore and a sixth-round pick.
The Sting also sent Jack Kuzmyk to Erie for Kingston’s sixth-round pick.