By Jamie Neugebauer
The intensity needed to go far in the playoffs has often been compared to that of fighting for ones own life.
On Saturday night at Toronto Lakeshore, it felt as though the Rangers had that hunger as they held on for a dramatic 1-0 victory.
One man who was especially sensational, North York’s starting goaltender Jason Puciarelli, felt that his team battled with a high level of desperation.
“It was like a playoff game out there for us,” he said, “in that we needed to win.
“We competed for the entire game, stuck to the systems, and it was certainly a huge team effort.”
Puciarelli stopped all 23 shots that he faced, including many difficult ones in close late in the game to preserve the victory.
John Carpino scored his team-leading 33rd goal of the season at 16:45 of the second period to provide all the offence the club needed. He now sits alone in second place in the OJHL in goals on the season.
Yet as much as it was a full team effort, it would all have been for not without Pucciarelli who earned his first shutout as a Ranger.
Of course in typical fashion, the unassuming net-minder from Newmarket deflected all the credit on to his mates.
“Tonight we gave a full 60 minutes,” he said, “everyone stepped up and it showed.”