DUNDAS (Mar. 31) — Sean Golebiowski’s four-point performance powered the Glanbrook Rangers to a 4-2 triumph in Game 5 over the Dundas Blues and put them in the driver’s seat in their South Bloomfield Division semifinal. The Rangers can advance to the final against the Grimsby Peach Kings with a win on Saturday (6:30 p.m., Glanbrook Arena).
The victory allowed the Rangers to recapture the momentum that was lost in the previous contest, a discouraging 3-1 loss on home ice, characterized by a disturbing loss of focus and a departure from the formula that had been so successful in the earlier part of the series.
“I personally take responsibility for Game 4,” said Rangers’ coach Andrew Tait. “We as a coaching staff lost composure on the bench and got involved in other areas. When we show emotion, good or bad, the players feed off that, and we become unraveled. In Game 5, we stayed calm and focused on the task at hand, which was to compete hard and get the series back in our favor.”
Playing from in front has been a key for the Rangers in this series; they got the first goal in all three of their victories, while in their two losses the Blues drew first blood. Another key was avoiding penalties; this was by far the tamest game (in terms of penalty minutes) in the five meetings.
“I think this game showed us that the playoffs are all about who wants it more and just being disciplined,” said Golebiowski. “We knew we had to come out hard and, of course, the loss the night before helped with our motivation.”
Even though the Rangers’ penalty killing unit has been operating at an extraordinary 93 per cent success rate, getting tangled up in confrontations with the opposition or the officials diverts attention from the business of winning games.
“We were able to get more guys in the game by staying out of the box,” said Tait. “When you get into penalty troubles, it disrupts the flow of the game, as well as messing up the lines. When you can use all four lines effectively, things just seem to fall into place.”
And getting a virtuoso performance from Golebiowski certainly didn’t hurt. The Rangers’ leading scorer during the regular season, Golebiowski tops the team in post-season goals with seven, and is tied with Ryan Burke and Brennan Ireland atop Glanbrook’s playoff points parade with 12. At 6-foot-4 and with an abrasively physical style, Golebiowski is a natural target for the attention of both opponents and referees. That’s a role he doesn’t shy away from, and which when it’s controlled, can be very effective.
“I just try to go out there and work as hard as I can and do the little things to help the boys get to our final goal, which is the Schmalz Cup,” he said. “A big issue we are dealing with is just getting sucked into the other team’s antics and if we can just learn to play with them and beat them on the scoreboard, our results will be positive.”
In Game 5, Golebiowski assisted on Harrison Farrugia’s opening marker in the first period, scored a tie-breaker in the second period, fed Burke for what proved to be the winner on a Glanbrook power play early in the third and finished off with his second tally to seal the deal late in the game.
“Goby had a great game,” said Tait. “We are dealing with a few injuries and a suspension (Cooper Hood sat out the game after receiving a major penalty late in Game 4). We needed someone to step up and take the reins. When Goby stays composed and focused on playing hockey, he is a difference maker for sure.”
NOTES: Ethan Cook got the start in goal for Glanbrook and notched his second playoff win with a 28-save performance … The Rangers’ power play has been a pleasant surprise against the Blues. They have scored at least one power-play goal in every game except Game 1 and have rung up a 24 per cent tally (6-for-25). … Not to be outdone, Burke had a three-point outing with a goal and a pair of assists.