RANGERS OFFENCE SHIFTS INTO HIGH GEAR TO OVERWHELM HAWKS

Justin Vermeulen fires the puck past netminder Reid Gates for Glanbrook's first goal en route to a 6-1 victory over the Hagersville Hawks.

 

GLANBROOK (Nov. 2) — It took a bit of time for the Glanbrooks Rangers to get on the right track, but when they did, they were like a runaway train as they extended their winning streak to five games with a 6-2 victory over the Hagersville Hawks.

Chase Johnson scored twice for the Rangers, who have been firing on all cylinders lately, winning 11 of their last 12.   But they strained a bit against the cellar-dwelling Hawks, who’ve won only two games so far this season.  Not to take anything away from the visitors, though. They gave it their all and managed to keep the Rangers offence at bay … for a while.

“We were having trouble capitalizing on our many chances in the offensive zone,” said forward Justin Vermeulen, whose fifth goal of the season at 17:54 of the first period finally earned the Rangers a dividend on their investment of effort.  “But our coaches always get us into the right mindset when we have a tough start, and solid goaltenders and team chemistry help us find our groove for the rest of the game.”

Which is how it played out, albeit after another stretch of  inertia.   Late in the second period, Johnson scored his seventh goal of the season on a shot that clunked off the crossbar at the back of the net behind Hawks’ goaltender Reid Gates and, in what seemed like the blink of an eye,  Cooper Hood and Johnson had struck again to boost the Rangers’ margin to 4-0 by the end of the frame.

“I don’t believe there was any specific moment or spark that lead us to finding our rhythm,” said Johnson, who ended a six-game scoring drought with his tallies. son.  “It was a collective effort from all of us to step it up a notch, and I think we executed that quite well.”

The teams traded goals in the third period — Terry Bridgland added his sixth at 2:32 and Sean Golebiowksi connected for his team-leading 12th marker at 12:48.   Hagersville took advantage of some loose play by the Rangers to spoil goalie Jason Sviergula’s shutout bid as Brendan Judson scored on a power-play at 5:24 and Rickey Johnstone scored at 17:53, almost as an afterthought, although Sviergula was called upon to make a couple more dazzling saves in the dying stages of the third period.

The victory was Glanbrook’s third of the season against Hagersville, whom they have outscored 20-6 overall, and pushed the Rangers to a five-point lead atop the Bloomfield Division over their closest challenger, the Port Dover Sailors.  And with their confidence at a high pitch, the Rangers have no fears of becoming complacent.

“We do a great job of not thinking about these types of things,” said Johnson.  “Every game for us is played with exact same mentality, no matter who we are playing.  You always acknowledge (the possibility of becoming complacent) but never dwell on for long.  As long as we stay focused and keep playing our game, I know we can keep moving strong.”

NOTES: The Rangers’ master of the penalty-kill was on display again as they neutralized four of Hagersville’s five opportunities.  The Rangers have been shorthanded 73 times this season (second in the PJHL) and they’ve surrendered only nine goals for an 88 per cent success rate …   The Rangers were 0-for-1 on the power play … Sviergula made 21 saves to remain undefeated.  He has a 6-0 record with a 1.82 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage … Glanbrook is tied for top spot in the PJHL with the Napanee Raiders and the Essex 73s.  All have 12 wins and 24 points, although the Raiders are undefeated and the 73s have lost just once, while the Rangers are 12-2 … Golebiowski  (12 goals and nine assists) and Hood (nine goals and 12 assists) are tied for 11th in the PJHL scoring race.

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