Tiago Rocha recorded his first shutout of the season with a 25-save outing as the Glanbrook Rangers blanked Port Dover, 3-0


GLANBROOK (Oct. 26) — Tiago Rocha earned his first shutout of the season, turning in a 25-save performance, and Ty Crombie scored the decisive goal as the Glanbrook Rangers blanked the Port Dover Sailors, 3-0 to extend their current winning streak to three games.

It was a contest that certainly wouldn’t earn any awards for artistic merit as both teams seemed somewhat out of sync, at least in its initial stages.  That said, the Rangers, in the modern world of hockey analytics,  clearly prevailed in the areas of puck possession, zone time and shot attempts, mercilessly blasting away at Port Dover’s 16-year-old netminder Finn Wilson (who finished with 49 saves in a heroic but losing cause).  The youngster, however, was game for the challenge and the scoreboard remained deadlocked at 0-0 well into the second stanza.

“Their goalie played really well,” said Rangers coach Andrew Tait.  “But we can’t complain when we’re working hard.  We just kept telling them to throw pucks at the net.  That’s the old hockey cliche, right?  Put pucks at the net and good things will happen.”

The key questions, as both teams fumbled and stumbled their way along, were: who would catch the first break and, would it be enough?  The answers:  Glanbrook, and yes.    Crombie was in the right place at the right time to pounce on a rebound off the backboards and deposit it past Wilson for the initial marker at 13:25 of the second period.

“Our line put pressure on their defence, which caused them to throw the puck up the boards,” said Crombie.  “The point shot went wide and I picked up the loose puck, walked out and put a backhand shot into the bottom corner.”

Crombie, who collected his fourth goal of the campaign, confessed that the Rangers were getting somewhat discouraged that their efforts weren’t being rewarded up until that turning point.

“It was very frustrating that we were outworking them in all aspects of the game, but couldn’t buy a goal,” he said.  “We talked in the dressing room about how we needed to clean up our passes and start shooting more.  We kept their offensive attack time to a minimum and did well at breaking the puck out fast, which led to a lot of scoring chances.”

Crombie’s strike did indeed seem to knock the wind out of the Sailors, uh, sails … and the Rangers got third-period insurance goals from Cooper Hood and Sean Golebiowski to wrap up the victory.  Not without a few anxious moments, though.   Despite being in overall command, the Rangers still got an occasional case of the yips which gave the Sailors a fair few dangerous scoring chances.

But Rocha was unflappable and even after extended periods of inactivity, was more than match for whatever the Sailors could muster.

“There’s not so much pressure, but trying to stay warm and focused while you’re not getting much action,” said Rocha.  “I just made sure I was focused and ready for the next play, next shot, next save.

“You have to be confident in those situations, confident in your teammates and just focused on getting the win.”

NOTES:  Golebiowski’s goal was his team-leading 11th of the season.  He is currently on a five-game goal-scoring streak, netting nine goals over that span … Hood contributed his sixth goal … The win was Rocha’s fifth in seven outings.  His goals-against average now stands at 1.72 … The Rangers have a perfect 3-0 record against the Sailors this season, with 11 goals scored and only three allowed … The win helped the Rangers widen their first-place margin in the Bloomfield Division to three points over the Sailors, 20 points to 17, with the Grimsby Peach Kings not far behind at 16.  … The Rangers goal differential so far is an eye-popping +33, far and away tops in the division, with Grimsby their closest competitor at +9.