As far as North York head coach Geoff Schomogyi is concerned, it was only a matter of time for alternate captain Keegan Blasby to get the rewards his hard work deserved; they came Wednesday night.
Blasby’s two goals and another brilliant performance from South Division Player of the Week runner-up Jeremie Lintner in the Ranger net helped lift the club to a much needed 4-1 win over the Toronto Jr. Canadiens at the Herb Carnegie Centennial Arena.
Needless to say, Schomogyi was thrilled for the big-bodied 20-year-old forward, who had only scored twice despite a myriad of chances over the course of the season to date, post-game.
“He has had some tough luck this year,” said Schomogyi, “but he has been a true leader for our team.”
“Keegan been doing the little things we’ve been asking of him, so it is great to see him get rewarded for all the work he’s been doing. When the younger guys see a veteran leader like ‘Blaz’ blocking shots, taking pride on being on the ride side of the puck, et cetera, it’s just a great building block for our club as a whole.”
Veteran North York defender Adam Giacomin scored the opening goal of the game 15:09 into the first period when he jammed in a loose puck just outside the blue paint of Jr. Canadiens’ goaltender Andrew Cipollone, just after a beautiful individual rush by Louis Kereakou.
A four-on-one for Toronto yielded their leading point getter Gianfranco Cassaro an empty net to even the contest 4:33 into the middle frame, but then Blasby show began.
A well-worked power play ended with a great point shot from Shawn Tessier that clanged off the post, but the puck landed perfectly on Blasby’s stick, and the veteran forward calmly wired it past a helpless Cipollone for the eventual game-winner with under two-and-a-half minutes left in the second period.
Blasby then added some insurance 52 seconds into the third, whipping home a wicked back hand after a slick spin-o-rama in the slot to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead.
Ryan Hunt flipped the puck into the empty net to seal the win with 16 seconds left on the clock.
“We just saw guys doing a lot of the little things that we as a staff have been asking them to do,” said Schomogyi.
“Guys were chipping pucks out, guys were working hard and battling, sacrificing themselves for each other, and it was great to see us play like that. We’ve been trying to teach these guys the way we want them to play, and today we saw it to a great extent; it was pretty satisfying.”
The Rangers pulled within two points of the Toronto Patriots for third in the division with two games in hand. They are next in action when they take on the South’s second place team, the St. Michael’s Buzzers, at St. Mike’s Arena on Friday evening; puck drops at 7:30.
Story by Jamie Neugebauer, Director of Communications
Photo by OJHL Images