KITCHENER – Rookie Andrew LeBlanc led the Kitchener Rangers to a third period 3-2 comeback victory over the Guelph Storm on Sunday afternoon at the Auditorium.
Simon Motew scored the winner late in the third, on a pass from behind the net that he converted with a shot over goaltender Jacob Oster’s shoulder, in front of more than 5,000 fans.
With the victory, the Rangers improved to 25-26-3-1, while Guelph drops to 29-20-5-2. Kitchener stays seventh in the Western Conference, inside a playoff spot, with the Storm fifth.
The visitors scored a pair of goals in the second period, Kitchener native Braeden Bowman netted his 22nd of the season and Jake Karabela scored his 11th to give Guelph a 2-1 lead.
Mike Petizian opened the scoring to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead 11:03 into the first period with his team-leading 29th goal of the season. It was his fourth short-handed goal of the year.
After storming out to a 2-1 lead in the second period with a pair of goals scored 4:38 apart, Guelph allowed two consecutive goals in the final 13:15 of the final frame.
LeBlanc has now scored three goals in his last two games and six points in five.
“I feel like I’ve been getting lucky, our team has been playing really well and all my goals were really nice plays by other players as well,” said LeBlanc, outside the dressing room, post-game.
“I’m really starting to come on here, when I came back from Christmas break I really changed my mindset and I’m really starting to get after it here, hopefully I can get a couple more.”
NOTES: With their victory, Kitchener snapped a three game losing skid against their Highway 7 rivals, evening their season series … Rangers face off against the Windsor Spitfires on Tuesday on the road … Storm have four days off before their next game on Friday in a rematch at the Sleeman Centre against the Rangers.