Glanbook's rookie goaltender Jason Sviergula made 25 saves to earn his first PJHL shutout as the Rangers blanked Dunnville 3-0.


GLANBROOK (Oct. 5) — For all of its systems and strategies, in hockey, sometimes you just have to improvise.   Faced with a severe shortage of defencemen, the Glanbrook Rangers had to do a little lineup shuffling to bolster their battered blueline.  And in the end, it all came out right as the Rangers executed their most effective defensive display of the season as they blanked the Dunnville Mudcats 3-0, earning goaltender Jason Sviergula his first junior hockey shutout, an accomplishment which held a special significance for the rookie.

“Recording my first junior shutout means a lot to me,” said Sviergula, “and it feels amazing to be able to achieve this on such a special night.  Oct. 5 has a sentimental value; it marked the fifth year since losing my grandfather to brain cancer.   Ever since Timbits hockey, he was my biggest supporter so recording a shutout in honour of him was truly special. It definitely gave me some extra motivation to be on top of my game.  I wanted to perform for not only my team, but for him.”

Three of the seven regular d-men on the Rangers’ roster were out of action — Dallas Nadasdi sitting out a suspension, with Jack Shedden and Eric Bridgwater nursing ailments.  And matters got worse quickly when Josh Lindsay tweaked an injury early in the first period and departed for the remainder of the contest.  That left Glanbrook with only four defencemen, one of them being forward Terry Bridgland.

“It was a pretty gutsy effort from our guys, playing with four D,” said Rangers’ coach Andrew Tait.  “Bridgland stepped up big-time to play a position he’s not normally used to.”

If the Rangers were vulnerable, it certainly didn’t show.   While the opening moments were relatively evenly played — with the Mudcats showing a bit of spark on their lone powerplay of the first period — the Rangers, backstopped by steady goaltending from Sviergula, soon took over total control and methodically shut down the Dunnville offence.

“Having a shortage on the bench can cause some uncertainty, for sure,” said Sviergula.  “Some guys had to be ready to take on a role they were not familiar with.  There is always pressure playing in those types of situations, although it was not overbearing.  I had full confidence in the guys in front of me.”

Daniel Vella put the Rangers ahead with his third goal of the season at 14:27 of the first period, while Justin Vermeulen chipped in with his third of the campaign early in the second and Sean Golebiowski finished off the tally with his second of the season at 5:43.  With the lead well in hand, and Sviergula more than a match for whatever the Mudcats managed to muster, the Rangers just threw a blanket over their opponents and skated them into submission.

There was none of the hostility evident in the teams’ last meeting, a cantankerous affair that ended in a 3-2 Glanbrook victory in overtime in Dunnville on Sept. 23, and that suited Tait just fine.

“We played with a lot of discipline, and that was good to see,” he said.  “In this kind of game, we didn’t want to start parading to the penalty box.”

Actually, the Mudcats did enjoy four man-advantages to Glanbrook’s one, but the Rangers smothered all threats to earn their fourth straight victory and climb into a tie with the Grimsby Peach Kings for first place in the Bloomfield Division.  Sviergula turned in a 25-save performance for his third triumph, in the process lowering his goals-against average to 1.65.