Goaltender Joshua Miscione made 24 saves in a 5-1 victory over Dunnville.


DUNNVILLE (Feb. 24) —  After spending several weeks as an understudy, Joshua Miscione finally got his chance to get back in the spotlight.  And the young netminder made the most of his opportunity as he backstopped the Glanbrook Rangers to a 5-1 triumph over the Dunnville Mudcats.

Miscione, who just turned 17 a mere five days ago, joined the Rangers in mid-January when Tiago Rocha was sidelined with a lower-body injury and made his debut as an emergency callup on Jan. 14 in a 7-2 victory over the Hagersville Hawks.   When Rocha’s injury proved to be more serious, Miscione grabbed a seat on the Rangers bench and served as the backup to starter Jason Sviergula as the Rangers were making their successful pursuit of first place in the Bloomfield Division.  And with that all sewn up,  and Sviergula earning a breather after having made 13 consecutive starts,  the Rangers’ coaching staff decided it was time to give the youngster another shot.

Sviergula ran the table over the last four weeks,” said Ranger coach Kevin Miket.  “Mo’s been with us all that time and we felt it was time to reward him for his efforts over that period.”

During his stint with the Rangers, Miscione has also been toiling for his regular teams, the Stoney Creek Warriors, which he said made his schedule “more busy, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.  I just had to make some sacrifices but it was well worth it.”

The Stoney Creek native said he was “super-pumped” when Ranger coach Andrew Tait confirmed on Friday morning that he would be getting the start against the Mudcats, but later, as he prepared for the game, he “just tried to stay calm and keep things simple.”

That approach paid dividends as Miscione turned in a respectable effort, making 24 saves to earn the victory.  The only time he was beaten came on a Dunnville power-play in the second period on a shot that was tipped.

“They were moving the puck around well,” Miscione said.  “I saw the shot come off the defenceman’s stick and I reacted to it when all of a sudden it got deflected by one of their players and went over the left side of my body.”

That was the only blemish on Miscione’s record and, on the whole, he felt satisfied with his performance.

“It was a great game.  The boys played strong in front of me,” he said.  “I just played my game and kept it simple.  I wasn’t nervous because I was prepared and ready to compete.  The first save of the night felt good and took a lot of pressure off my shoulders.”

Miscione’s achievement was the highlight of what was generally a lacklustre enterprise.   Neither team had anything on the line — and it showed.   As mentioned, the Rangers were already firmly ensconced in top spot of the Bloomfield Division, while the Mudcats are at the other end of the spectrum, holding down sixth place, well ahead of cellar-dwelling Hagersville and too far behind the Dundas Blues to entertain any thoughts of advancement.

The Rangers pretty much controlled the first period, but managed only a 1-0 lead on Sean Golebiowski’s 31st goal of the season.  In the ensuing frame, they seemed to have a collective brain fog and for much of the early going, it was hard to ascertain just what they were trying to accomplish.  A flashy goal by Chase Johnson, where the speedy forward turned on the afterburners to outrace a Dunnville defender for a loose puck then flipped a shot past Mudcats goalie Austin Davison, helped to snap the team out of its funk.

Owen Johnston beat Davison with a laser-like shot from the slot a couple of minutes later and then, after Dunnville’s power-play reprisal, Ryan Burke finished off a nifty three-way passing play by sliding the puck into a yawning net to put the Rangers in the driver’s seat.  Burke added another tally — his 20th goal of the season — in the third to close out the account.

“I thought we played really well in the first, then took our foot off the gas in the second,” said Miket.   “In the third, we stayed disciplined, got pucks deep, kept our third man high.  It can be hard to play games when they don’t mean anything.  We just tried to keep our focus, stick to our plan and stay as healthy as possible” for the impending playoffs.

In the meantime, the plan for Miscione is to enjoy his opportunity while it lasts, and perhaps use it as a springboard for the future.

“I saw this as a chance to get some work with a junior team,” he said.  “I was hoping to get in a game or two to prove myself and fortunately enough, I’ve played two games.  I’ve learned a lot from all the coaches and players.  Also, I’m now confident in my ability to compete at the Jr. C level and hope to play for this team next season if there’s a spot available.”

NOTES:   The Rangers finished off their season series with Dunnville, compiling a perfect 7-0-0-0 mark while outscoring the Mudcats 34-6 … The Rangers now have three players above the 20-goal plateau.  Golebiowski leads with 31, followed by Cooper Hood at 29 and Burke at 20.   Johnson comes next with 18 and Terry Bridgland has 17 … As a team, the Rangers are one of only three in the PJHL to amass more than 200 goals:   Napanee Raiders have 214, Clarington Eagles are at 211 and the Rangers have 202.