GLANBROOK (Feb. 9) — Sean Golebiowski’s highlight-reel goal at 0:32 of overtime gave the Glanbrook Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Port Dover Sailors and salvaged a game that was charged with tension and drama. Golebiowski’s winner, his team-leading 13th goal of the season and second of the contest, was a solo dipsy-doodle doozy that capped off a rally in which the Rangers came back from a two-goal deficit.
But more on that later. First, the tension: the game was delayed for an extended span in the first period when Port Dover’s Gavin Buch — whose brother Christopher plays for the Rangers — suffered a ghastly injury when his arm was slashed by a skate in a pileup along the end boards. He rushed to the bench where swift action by Rangers’ trainer Bill Grant and the Sailors’ staff staunched the bleeding. Christopher stayed with his sibling on the Sailors’ bench until paramedics arrived and accompanied him when he was taken to the ambulance, then returned to finish the game.
“It really shook me,” said Christopher Buch. “I wanted to check on him right away. It was a bad cut just up from his wrist. He panicked a bit at first, but he’s a pretty mellow kid. He’ll be okay.”
The score at that point was 1-1 with Golebiowski scoring for Glanbrook just 44 seconds after the opening faceoff, answered by the Sailors’ Nick D’Agostino with a shorthanded marker at 4:50. But Ben Reeves added a powerplay goal before the first frame ended, and D’Agostino struck again at 7:18 of the second to increase Port Dover’s margin to 3-1. Up until then, the Rangers’ performance had been ragged and unfocused, with many attacks showing appearing to have promise, only to be neutralized by the Sailors, or just fizzle out on their own.
“Our emotions got a little unravelled,” said Rangers’ coach Andrew Tait. “Our message was to calm down. It was an emotional game with everything that happened, but good things happen when you can keep things in control.”
And so they did, starting with Matthew Wright’s tip-in goal on a point shot from Ethan Wellings at 12:09 of the second period and followed by Cooper Hood’s opportune tying goal midway through the third.
“I got a lucky bounce off the boards on a shot from the point,” explained Hood, “and I saw a bit of an opening and got a bit more luck when it bounced in off the goalie. We needed that in a game where things weren’t really going our way.”
And that left it up to Golebiowski, who rushed up ice, slipped the puck between the feet of Port Dover defender Reeves, then went in alone, deked goaltender Nolan McDowell and lifted a backhand shot into the top of the net.
“I just wanted to keep moving forward, looking for options,” said Golebiowski in describing his gem. “It was all instinct. The only time I thought was on the move. I was going to shoot, but I saw that (Reeves) was a forward and I thought, ‘I can beat him.’ Everything just worked out.”
The victory lifted the Rangers into a second-place tie with the Grimsby Peach Kings in the South Bloomfield Division. Both teams have 31 points, just one behind current division leader Dundas Blues, setting the stage for a frantic finish to the season.
“We have to start gearing up for these types of games from now on,” said Tait. “These two points were huge and that’s how the next five games are going to be for us.”
NOTES: This was Glanbrook’s third straight win and fourth overtime victory of the season (matched by four overtime losses) … Ethan Cook recorded the triumph in goal for the Rangers, making 18 saves. … The Rangers finished their season series against Port Dover with a 2-3 record.