The Glanbrook Rangers came out on top in the Bloomfield Division and missed out on PJHL honours by the slimmest of margins.


GLANBROOK (Mar. 5) — While the final scene didn’t go quite according to the script, there is absolutely no denying that this season has been a smashing success for the Glanbrook Rangers.

The last act — a 3-2 overtime loss to the Hagersville Hawks in an inconsequential rescheduled game — prevented Glanbrook from claiming the top rung in the PJHL standings by the slimmest of margins.  In fact, the Rangers finished the regular campaign with 74 points, the same total garnered by the Essex 73s, who earned the distinction as the loop’s top team on the basis of having one more win than Glanbrook, 36 to 35.  Both teams finished with an .881 winning percentage.

“It was a very good year for the team,” said Rangers’ coach Andrew Tait.  “We set out at the start of the season to finish first in our division, and that was accomplished.  Selfishly, it would have been great to finish first in the entire league, but we accomplished the goal of our division and we get a break because of that, so to me that is more important.”

The break Tait refers to is the bye through to the second round of the Bloomfield Division playoffs, a hiatus lasting from Mar. 6 to Mar. 21, which the Rangers will enjoy while the six remaining teams in the division battle through Round 1.  The Rangers will then re-enter the fray against the lowest-seeded team from among the survivors.

Summing up the season for the Rangers shows a tote board brimming with notable accomplishments:

  • 35 victories against only three regulation losses.  Those three defeats were the fewest regulation losses by any team in the PJHL
  • A 16-game winning streak, and a stretch of 23 games (well over half the season) in which they earned at least a single point
  • 210 goals scored, fourth-best in the league
  • A goal differential of +116, also #4 in the PJHL, and almost double that of their closest Bloomfield competitor, the Grimsby Peach Kings, who came in at +63.
  • The best goals-against average in the division, and the only team in the Bloomfield to have two goaltenders in the top 20 of the PJHL:   Tiago Rocha (2.17) and Jason Sviergula (2.28)
  • Two 30-goal scorers (Sean Golebiowski, 31 and Cooper Hood, 30) and seven skaters who hit double figures in goals
  • Two players honoured as Bloomfield Division Player of the Month:  Golebiowski for Sept/Oct and Sviergula for February

But the numbers don’t tell the whole tale.  In fact, Tait didn’t even mention the statistical performance when reflecting on the key elements of the teams’ achievement.

“When I look back on the season, the one thing that jumps out to me is our depth, as well as our work ethic,” he said.  “We had many nights where different guys stepped up, and rarely were we outworked, which is exactly what you need to have a long playoff run.

“We always brought our effort in every game, which is a tough thing to do.  Guys can become complacent, but I feel our leaders did a great job keeping focus and keeping the guys grounded.”

Of course, as with any team that not only covets, but believes they have a legitimate shot at a championship, the Rangers have no intention of resting on their laurels.  They have said many times over the course of the season that the real work doesn’t begin until the playoffs start.  And Tait is well aware that in spite of their exploits, there is always room for improvement.

“Not to sound like I’m beating a dead horse, but obviously our discipline needs to be a lot better,” he said, noting that penalties have been a constant thorn for the Rangers this year, although that’s an area where they’ve shown significant improvement over the latter stages of the season.  “We need to continue to outwork teams and let them be the ones that march to the (penalty) box.  As cliche as it is, special teams win you games at this point of the season, and we need to be a prime example of that.”

NOTES:  Ty Crombie and Owen Johnston scored the Rangers’ goals against Hagersville, while Rocha was tagged with the OTL in his second consecutive start since returning from injury … It was the sixth time the Rangers went to OT this season, finishing up with a record of two wins, three losses and one tie.