PORT DOVER (Dec. 19) — The Glanbrook Rangers’ three-game winning streak came to a halt as they fell 4-3 to the Port Dover Sailors. The loss also dropped the Rangers further behind the Sailors in the South Bloomfield Division standings. A Glanbrook win would have seen the teams deadlocked in third spot.
“This was a huge opportunity lost,” said Rangers’ coach Andrew Tait. “It was a four-point game; it would have moved us up in the standings and put us in a good spot heading into January.”
The Sailors opened the scoring at 3:00 of the first period, when Reid Smith, left unmarked at the edge of the Rangers’ crease, banged in a pass from behind the net. That lead held through the first period, and when Glanbrook forward Sean Golebiowski took the puck from the opening faceoff in the second period and barged through the defence to knot the equalizer just seven seconds in, it appeared that the momentum might swing the Rangers’ way.
And so it did. Unfortunately, despite carrying the play to the floundering Sailors, and generating several excellent scoring opportunities, the Rangers were cursed by an inability to finish. The Sailors, on the other hand, exploited their opportunities to the full, getting a pair of goals from Nick D’Agostino and a single from Zachary Johnson to extend their lead to 4-1 by the middle of the third period.
Lack of scoring has been an ongoing concern for Glanbrook this season: they have just 53 goals, a per-game average of 2.41, second-worst in the division. And don’t even mention the power play which is dead-last in the PJHL with a mere six goals on 86 opportunities for a 7 per cent success rate. Ironically, they have have been able to generate a lot of shots, averaging 47 per game in their six December outings (they fired 43 at Sailors netminder Nolan McDowell). But they only managed 13 goals over that span, for a 3.6 per cent scoring percentage. And, anyway, said Tait, shots on goal are a misleading indicator.
“We’re making the goalies’ job easy,” he said. “With the kind of shots we’re getting, they’re going to make the save more than 9 times out of 10. This team has had a number of gifted scorers over the past few years, but we just don’t have that right now. We have to find ways to manufacture goals, to go the hard areas of the ice and get goals that go in from scrambles or bounce in off our butts.”
Still, that said, the Rangers have been able to stay in the hunt in the Bloomfield Division, and bear in mind that they won four of those six December games (two in overtime). Even against the Sailors, Glanbrook showed some stirrings in the final stages of the third period as Golebiowski netted his second of the game at 11:07 and Tyler Mulholland followed with another marker at 16:52, but they couldn’t come back all the way.
The Rangers will close out the 2021 segment of their scheduled at home on Wednesday, Dec. 22 against the Dundas Blues, the current front-runners in the Bloomfield Division. And they’ll be looking to go into the holiday break on a high note.
” We’ve got to realize that things that in December, hockey gets tougher,” said Tait. “And it will only get even tougher from here on out. ”
NOTES: Golebiowski’s two goals gave him the team lead with nine … Glanbrook’s Ethan Cloutier participated in the PJHL Prospects West vs South game on Dec. 18 and contributed an assist in the South’s 3-2 victory.