By Jamie Neugebauer
Four Rangers had multi-point nights and the team put up an astounding 90 shots but came up just short in one of the most dramatic games in franchise history when they fell 5-4 to the St. Michael’s Buzzers in triple-overtime on Saturday in Game 3.
Despite out-shooting the Buzzers 24-12 in the opening period, North York found itself down 3-0 after 20.
Yet as is often the case, the Rangers refused to quit.
Franco Loparco jammed home a goal-mouth scramble at 1:56 to kick-start the comeback, and then Adam Valadao shoveled home a Corey Kalk rebound just over three minutes later to make it 3-2.
Liam Kerins completed the rally with 16 seconds left in the middle frame with a rocket far-post from the right half-boards.
After St. Mike’s retook the lead at the 10:36 mark of the third period, Kalk showed a dazzling display of skill, sweeping the puck off the back of a Buzzer skate to tie the game up once again at 16:42.
North York dominated the first, and most of the second, overtime, getting the bulk of the chances and out-shooting the opposition 38-18 over that span.
Yet the winner eluded them until St. Mike’s counter-attack and found the winner 3:56 into the third extra period.
Rangers’ goaltender Jason Pucciarelli made numerous spectacular saves against the run of play in overtime, including a downright miraculous toe-save to stifle what looked like a finish into an empty net.
The Buzzers now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 but North York will get a chance to even the series up again at home on Tuesday night in Game 4 at the Herb.