HAGERSVILLE (Jan. 14) — A second-period explosion broke a deadlock and propelled the Glanbrook Rangers to a 7-2 victory over the Hagersville Hawks. It was the Rangers’ 25th win in 28 outings so far this season, and increased their first-place margin in the Bloomfield Division to seven points over the Grimsby Peach Kings. The game was a make-up contest for one that was postponed owing to bad weather back on Nov. 19.
The Rangers have pretty much run roughshod over the last-place Hawks this season, winning all five encounters and outscoring Hagersville 33-9. But on this particular occasion, the teams emerged tied 1-1 after the first period. Connor Stirling opened the scoring for Hagersville at 10:17, and Chase Johnson replied at 14:04 with his 12th goal of the campaign.
There were, however, indications that standoff wouldn’t last. For starters, the Rangers outshot the hosts 16-5, and had an abundance of scoring chances only to be foiled by Hawks’ goalie Reid Gates.
“The first period started off a little slow, we were struggling to find the back of the net,” said Rangers’ forward Ty Crombie. “Their goalie was playing well, but we knew if we kept putting shots on net, he would eventually cave in. Once we got the first road period out of the way and continued to pepper the goalie with shots it was only a matter of time before things would start falling into place. Hagersville is a small arena, so we knew that just shooting from anywhere and crashing the net would create chances.”
And, boy did they ever. Crombie kicked off the onslaught with his eighth goal at 2:10 of the middle stanza and then, in a dizzying five-minute frenzy, the Rangers connected four more times to leave the shell-shocked Hawks on the short end of a 6-1 score. Crombie scored his second of the game a mere 16 seconds after his opening marker, then it went Owen Johnston (3:41), Cooper Hood (6:10) and Karter Doohan (7:15).
“At intermission, we reset, got focused and planned moving forward,” said Doohan. “We came out hungry in the second. We just needed that one goal to get our energy up, and once that happens, it’s contagious and everyone just starts banging them in.”
Nate Veldstra provided the only respite for the Hawks when he scored at 13:34. But the die was cast, and Glanbrook’s Terry Bridgland applied the finishing touch just 34 seconds into the third period with his 10th goal. One curious note about Glanbrook’s goal blitz was that none of them came on the power play, even though they were the beneficiary of an astonishing 11 man-advantage situations. Hard to complain about that when you score seven goals, but still something that might bear some attention down the road.
“Our power play is definitely one of our biggest issues right now,” said Crombie. “We are working on it every practice trying to figure out what we need to do in order to start capitalizing when we get the chances.”
Not surprisingly, perhaps, the third period became a bit of a muddle of penalties (at one point, three separate Rangers were assessed minor penalties at the same time) as the mood turned a bit disorderly.
“Sometimes, we get caught up in the moment,” said Doohan. “As a team, we are always trying to calm each other down in situations where our emotions get the better of us.”
One feel-good aspect of the Rangers’ win was the debut of goaltender Joshua Miscione, a minor hockey affiliated player who got the start in net owing to the absence of Jason Sviergula, who, along with teammate Ethan Cloutier, was playing in the PJHL East-South Prospect Game in Georgina, Ont. Miscione, a 16-year-old Stoney Creek native, plays for the Stoney Creek Warriors U21 team.
“With Jason away at the Prospect Game, we gave Tiago Rocha the night off for game management,” said Rangers’ coach Andrew Tait. “Miscione … has been helping us out a lot at practice. I think once the nerves wore off he played well. He made saves when we needed him to. Unfortunately, we left him out to dry with an odd-man rush and a breakaway. We played a strong game defensively for sure, but Miscione was locked in too.”
Crombie seconded that opinion.
“I think he played well for his first game. I’m sure he felt there was a lot of pressure on his shoulders,” said Crombie. “We made sure to do our best to help him out and keep their shots to a minimum.”
NOTES: It’s now 24 games and counting for Sean Golebiowski’s point-scoring streak, although the Ranger captain has gone five games without a goal, his longest drought of the season … Miscione made 17 saves to earn the victory … Sviergula played just over 30 minutes for the South Prospect team, surrendering no goals on 13 shots.