REVVED-UP RANGERS TAKE SERIES LEAD

Cooper Hood celebrates his first-period goal that helped spark Glanbrook's 4-2 win over the Dundas Blues.

 

DUNDAS (Mar. 27) — Hockey people love to talk about getting “the bounces,”   those fortunate little hops, skips or jumps that can have a huge impact for good or ill.  Well, the Glanbrook Rangers were the beneficiaries of a key “bounce” that propelled them to a 4-2 victory over the Dundas Blues and a 2-1 lead in their South Bloomfield Division semifinal series.

Here was the situation:  with the game tied 1-1 and the midway mark of the second period approaching, Ranger defenceman Andrew Miele found himself with the puck after a centering pass from teammate Ryan Burke was deflected his way.  Miele moved in and directed the puck toward the Dundas net, where, as he recounted, “it ended up getting to the net and bouncing in.  I was surprised when it did, as it wasn’t the best shot on net.”

Little bounce, big impact.  The goal gave the Rangers the nudge they needed and, from then on, they were unstoppable.

“The game was tied for decent amount of time,” said Miele, “so that was a big momentum changer and got the ball rolling for us.”

Now don’t get the impression that there was anything fluky about Glanbrook’s effort; in fact, this may well have been their best overall game of the post-season so far.  Right from the start, ferocious forechecking, high-tempo playmaking and lights-out goaltending by Mitchell Robinson characterized the Rangers’ performance.   After Miele provided the boost, the Rangers exploded out of the gate in the third period on a pair of goals by Sean Golebiowski to build a 4-1 lead.   Nicholas Kisil’s goal at 11:48 to make it 4-2 proved to be only a minor irritant.

“We really brought the momentum from last night (a 4-0 win in Glanbrook),” said Rangers’ coach Andrew Tait.  “This was definitely one of our more disciplined games, systems-wise.”

The only glitches in the Rangers’ machinery were the odd defensive lapse and the chronic headache of too many penalties.   But if the Rangers were unable completely to exorcise those demons, they at least held them at bay.   The PK unit stifled seven of Dundas’s eight chances, and Robinson was unflappable on those occasions when the Rangers slipped up or the Blues managed to exert pressure.  Robinson’s pinnacle moment came when he stonewalled Dundas’s James Almeida on a penalty-shot bid at 1:12 of the third, then followed that up with a few more brilliant saves among his total of 37 en route to his sixth win of the post-season.

The Rangers now have a couple of days off before the pivotal Game 4 of this series on Wednesday, Mar. 30 at Glanbrook Arena.  That might be seen as something of a handicap, considering the head of steam that the Rangers have developed.  But it has its advantages too, Tait said.

“With the way we’re playing, you almost want to go right back out there tomorrow and keep at it,” he said.  “But on the other hand, this gives us a chance to rest up a bit, tighten up some of the things we need  to tighten up and get back to being healthy, or at least as close to healthy as it’s possible to be in the playoffs.”

NOTES:   Cooper Hood opened the scoring for Glanbrook at 9:45 of the first period with his fourth goal of the playoffs … Brennan Ireland contributed two assists to bring his total to 10 … Golebiowski drew even with Joel Wallace for the team lead with five goals apiece …  This was the second post-season penalty shot Robinson faced.  The first was back on Mar. 15 against Hagersville’s Joey Stimac.  He stopped that one, too.

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