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Photo illustration by Jordan Ercit

Photo illustration by Jordan Ercit

The newest Kitchener Rangers, from left: Derek Schoenmakers, Frank Corrado, Josh Leivo and Joel Vienneau.

Rangers reshape roster with pair of deals

By Jordan Ercit
Kitchener Post staff

Forget Steve Spott.

Forget Derek Schoenmakers.

Forget whoever at The Aud was aching for a local name to cheer for.

The biggest fan of Tuesday’s Rangers trade with the Peterborough Petes may have been the parents of Kitchener’s newest OHL acquisition.

“They were loving it today,” Schoenmakers said of his folks, formerly Rangers season ticket holders. “My dad called me today when he heard. And my mom, when I saw her she was going ballistic and trying to get tickets in a hurry.

“Yeah, everyone was pretty excited.”

So too was the former Jr. B Kitchener Dutchmen forward, who grew up wearing a Rangers jersey as a product of the Kitchener minor hockey system and was drafted by the Mississauga-St. Michael’s Majors after playing his minor midget-AAA hockey with the Jr. Rangers.

It also gave the 20-year-old power forward a chance to debut on a new team in his hometown for a second week in a row.

Last Thursday, Schoenmakers suited up for the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks men’s hockey team in a 2-1 win over the University of Waterloo Warriors. On Saturday, he notched a pair of goals, including a game-winner, in a 4-3 Golden Hawks win over Brock University.

Although Schoenmakers, a 26-goal scorer last season with Mississauga and Sudbury, has already burned a year of CIS eligibility in less than a week, he may find his way back to the Hawks’ home at Sun Life Arena next season if a shot at pro hockey doesn’t present itself after this season.

“It’s good hockey for the people who haven’t seen it,” said Schoenmakers, who had nine goals and four assists in 24 games this season with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires before he was traded — and refused to report — to Peterborough. “I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Laurier.

“I wasn’t really hoping for this (a trade to the Rangers) to happen — I was focused on Laurier — but when it came up, it’s obviously a dream come true to play at home.”

The trade for Schoenmakers — which also included a 10th round pick going to Kitchener for overage forward Nick Czinder and a pair of picks to Peterborough — also reunited four former members of the Sudbury Wolves.

In another trade Tuesday, the Rangers acquired forward Josh Leivo, defenceman Frank Corrado and goalie Joel Vienneau from Sudbury for goalie Franky Palazzese, forward Matt Schmalz and defenceman Cory Genovese, a Hespeler native. A slew of draft picks were also swapped.

Schoenmakers, Leivo, Corrado and Vienneau were all members of the Wolves last season.

The Sudbury trade was two weeks in the making, said Rangers head coach and general manager Steve Spott, who wasted little time making a splash before Thursday’s OHL trade deadline and after arriving home for the world junior championship in Ufa, Russia — he arrived in Canada Monday at 4 a.m. and was at the office in Kitchener at 7 a.m.

If Tuesday’s game against Guelph, a 6-2 victory, is any indication, the lack of sleep may have been worth it. Spott also hopes it validates the decision to deal away a couple young players and a host of draft picks.

“The veteran players we had on our team were excited and it makes everybody better now,” Spott said. “It gives Tobie (Rieder) a shot of adrenaline, and when Radek (Faksa) gets back here. It gives them a chance to play with some really special players.”

And Spott may not be done yet. But if he can’t find a natural centreman before Thursday’s noon deadline, it means the team may have to experiment with Rieder at centre or “hope that Matia (Marcantuoni) and Josh Sterk can play at the level we need them to play at.

“But ultimately, that’s going to be up to them,” Spott said.

Rangers 6 Storm 2

All four recent acquisitions were in the Kitchener lineup Tuesday night as the Rangers (22-13-1-4) routed the Guelph Storm 6-2 at The Aud.

Leivo and Brent Pedersen had a goal and an assist each. Ben Fanelli, Eric Ming, Marcantuoni and Justin Bailey also scored for the hosts and Vienneau made 35 saves a couple hours after arriving from Sudbury.

Jason Dickinson scored twice for Guelph (21-14-1-4) in a battle of the backups as neither John Gibson nor Garret Sparks, the Storm’s No. 1 netminder, dressed for the game after joining the United States for the world juniors.

The Rangers were also without Matt Puempel (shoulder, day-to-day) and Radek Faksa (world juniors).

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