GLANBROOK (Nov. 10) — The Glanbrook Rangers ran their point-producing streak to seven games and in the process climbed into first place in the South Bloomfield Division with a combative 2-1 victory over the Dunnville Mudcats. The Rangers’ record over that span includes a pair of overtime losses to go with four wins and a tie, but any points are welcome in the ultra-tight Bloomfield where first and fifth place are separated by a mere three points.
The Mudcats, one of the division’s lower-echelon squads, did everything in their power to deny the Rangers their success. Their style is based on an abrasive persistence and physicality that makes up for a lack of offensive polish with the aim of exasperating their opponents into making mistakes.
“They’re chippy,” said Rangers’ forward Joel Wallace. “They try to suck you into taking penalties and then capitalize on that.”
The Mudcats, also hoping to exploit a Rangers’ roster depleted through injuries and suspensions, put their formula into practice throughout the scoreless first period. But Glanbrook weathered the storm and began to seize the momentum in the middle frame.
“We have a couple of injuries on defence,” said Rangers’ coach Andy Tait, “and had to have a forward (Christian Buch) help us out there. It was nice to see everybody step up.”
The Rangers, who outshot the Mudcats by a 13-5 margin in the second period, broke through with a pair of quick goals spaced just a minute apart by Harrison Farrugia (at 14:29), with Brandon Boyd following at 15:34. Rangers’ goalie Sabastien Peto preserved that margin a couple of minutes later with a solid save on a penalty shot by Dunnville’s Tyler Bowen, setting the stage for a fierce finale.
The Rangers had the game well in hand through the first half of the final frame by “maintaining the puck, keeping possession of it and making them chase us,” said Wallace.
The simmering animosity between the two times reached the boiling point at the midway mark and the contest deteriorated into a bitter feud marked by some vicious hits and plenty of trash-talking. The Mudcats’ hopes revived when Josh Bourden finally took advantage of a Glanbrook miscue to ruin Peto’s shutout bid at 18:04, but the dam burst in the game’s waning moments when a hit from behind on Wallace triggered a melee that resulted in multiple fighting and misconduct penalties.
“We tried to remain as disciplined as possible,” said Tait. “But there’s only so much you can take.”
NOTES: The Rangers were without the services of defencemen Daniel Vella and Josh Lindsay, as well as forward Sean Golebiowski, who is sitting out a two-game suspension … The Rangers outshot Dunnville 39-21 … Peto earned his first win in his second appearance of the season (to go with a 1-0 overtime loss to Hagersville). … Boyd’s goal was his first of the season. … The Rangers haven’t lost in regulation since Oct. 20 when they fell 6-4 to Port Dover.