GLANBROOK 4, GRIMSBY 2
GRIMSBY (Apr. 7) — A third-period rally catapulted the Glanbrook Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Grimsby Peach Kings and a 2-0 lead in the Bloomfield Division Final series.
Eager to make amends for a 5-2 loss in Game 1 in front of a huge and enthusiastic home audience, the Peach Kings roared out to a 2-0 lead on a first-period goal by Blake Venneri and a tally in the first minute of the second stanza by Zachary Mambella.
“They came out exactly as we expected in front of the home crowd,” said Rangers’ coach Andrew Tait. “They played physical and with a lot of energy. That got us a little scrambled in our own end and we were making little mistakes that hemmed us in our end longer than we would have liked.”
Despite that, the Rangers managed to hold their own, even outshooting the Peach Kings through the first two frames by a substantial margin, but with nothing to show for it on the scoreboard until Owen Johnston shaved the Grimsby lead by a goal with an unassisted marker at 7:03 of the middle frame.
As it turned out, that was the precursor to the decisive final session when the Rangers assumed control by counting three unanswered goals to silence the partisans and take an appreciable lead in the series. The critical moment, Tait said, came early in the third when the Rangers’ penalty killing unit braved a lengthy onslaught when the Peach Kings had the opportunity to recapture the momentum. That provided the springboard for Glanbrook’s comeback.
“I felt the turning point came early in the third when (forward Ty) Crombie had two shorthanded breakaways,” said Tait. “He was unable to capitalize, but with the way he was skating, you almost knew it was eventually going to bounce his way.
“And, off a faceoff, we got a great point shot and he pounced on a rebound. All season, we as coaches have been preaching about bearing down on faceoffs, and I thought all four of our centres got the job done tonight. The game becomes much easier when you start with possession of the puck.”
After Crombie’s goal deadlocked the game at 2-2 at 9:13, Ranger captain Sean Golebiowski added the eventual winner with his sixth goal of the post-season just over four minutes later, and defenceman Daniel Vella sealed the deal with his second playoff goal into the empty Grimsby net at 19:15.
Tiago Rocha turned in another solid performance, making 30 saves to earn his sixth playoff victory in seven starts. And once again, the Rangers displayed noteworthy discipline, surrendering only four power plays and stifling all threats.
“Our PK was unbelievable again, killing off penalties in key moments,” said Tait.
The Rangers can take a commanding lead in the series with a win in Game 3 on Sunday, Apr. 9 at 1:30 pm at Glanbrook Arena. Game 4 goes on Tuesday, Apr. 11 back in Grimsby (7:30 pm).
NOTES: The Rangers were 0-for-7 on the power play … Golebiowski’s goal tied him for the team post-season lead with Ryan Burke … Forward Karter Doohan returned to the lineup after completing a suspension from the semifinal series against Niagara. Tyler Mulholland and Eric Bridgwater were still sidelined serving their banishments.