DUNDAS (Oct. 13) — Sean Golebiowski scored twice as the Glanbrook Rangers downed the Dundas Blues 4-1, rebounding from their first home loss the night before to the Niagara Riverhawks. The 3-2 defeat also ended Glanbrook’s six-game winning streak.
From the outset, the game with the Blues showed promise that it could be a high-tempo affair as the Rangers came out flying, pressuring the Dundas defence and generating a number of scoring opportunities, one of which Golebiowksi cashed in just 1:49 into the game. But sometimes promises aren’t kept and what showed hints of being a Formula One race quickly turned into something that looked more like a demolition derby.
It was evident early on that the Blues couldn’t keep pace with Glanbrook and so turned to what has become a familiar blueprint when these rivals meet: crank up the physicality and try to harass, distract and generally get under the Rangers’ skin in an attempt to make them lose their focus and take penalties.
For a time, the Rangers proved to be willing accomplices and, when some dubious officiating was thrown into the mix, the game deteriorated into a spiteful slog with a tedious promenade to the penalty box. It was a high-risk, potentially high-reward strategy for the Blues — they enjoyed an astonishing 11 power plays to Glanbrook’s five, a couple of them two-man advantages.
“There’s always a plan for each team we play,” said Golebiowski. “But we can only control what we can do, so when things do go out of line, we just stay focused on our end goal and continue to work hard.”
But the Rangers’ penalty killers were up to the challenge and, backstopped by goaltender Tiago Rocha, who earned his fourth victory with a 35-save performance, thwarted every opportunity.
“Penalty killing was a huge factor (in this game),” said Eric Taylor, a member of the Rangers’ corps of penalty-killers who were called upon to do extra service. “The key to killing penalties is everyone being disciplined and sticking to the systems. Our goalies also play a big part; we have a lot of confidence that they will make big saves.”
Dundas’s Mark Benn evened the score at 2:30 of the second period, but Cooper Hood stole the puck from a defender deep in the Dundas zone and whipped a shot from a sharp angle into the goalmouth that ricocheted off Blues’ goalie Austin Strom into the net to put Glanbrook up 2-1 at 6:47. Former Blue Eric Bridgwater added an insurance marker (ironically, on a Glanbrook power play) just 46 seconds later and Golebiowski completed the scoring with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:09 of the third, putting the finishing touches to a hard-fought and satisfying triumph.
“These things are situations we practice and we are all aware of how the outcome can go,” said Golebiowski, “so everyone is always prepared and ready to go at all times. The priority was just to get our two points. There’s always a tipping point, but I think we did what we needed to do and kept our cool and ended up achieving what we came to do.”
It put the Rangers back on the winning track after losing their previous game to the Riverhawks in their first encounter of the season. The Riverhawks got the jump on Glanbrook to build a 3-1 lead after the first period, then held on for the next two frames, in which they were outshot 28-12, to capture the victory. Michael Dittrich and Golebiowski had the Glanbrook goals while Rocha was tagged with the loss.
NOTES: Golebiowski and Chase Johnson are tied for tops on the team with six goals apiece, while Ryan Burke is the leading scorer with 13 points on five goals and eight assists … Rocha has a 2.01 goals-against average with a .930 save percentage … Daniel Vella leads Ranger defencemen in goals (4) and points (9) … The Rangers are now 2-0-0 against the Blues, scoring 13 goals in two games while surrendering just four … The Rangers are 8-for-33 on the power play (24.2 per cent), while boasting an 89.8 penalty-killing average (successfully stopping 44 of their opponents’ 49 man-advantage opportunities).