Michael Morgan and Matthew Whittaker both scored twice and Evgueni Makarski picked up his first win as a Ranger as North York outlasted the Hamilton Red Wings 5-3 on Sunday afternoon.
Makarski was solid in what was also his first ever appearance for the club, making 25 saves for his fifth career Ontario Junior Hockey League victory.
Afterward, North York bench boss Mark Joslin was impressed with how far the Red Wings have come as a club from past years.
“I think Hamilton is a very good team,” he said.
“They are very physical, and they surprised me a bit in that they made a bunch of adjustments. That was a playoff style game for me, and I thought our guys competed well, especially because we were flat last night and rebounded about 16 hours later and put in a good performance.”
Morgan opened the scoring by cutting in from the left half-wall and whipping a wrister over Hamilton goaltender Jordan Cartney’s shoulder 1:33 into the game.
Gabriel Valenzuela doubled the Ranger lead at 18:06 of the first period when he pulled one of his patented moves around the Red Wings defence and Cartney.
Rylee St. Onge pulled one back for Hamilton 6:58 into the second period, but Whittaker got his first of two straight power play markers just over minutes later, one-timing home a feed from Valenzuela.
The reigning Southwest Conference Play of the Month Whittaker jammed in a rebound on a five-on-three to start the third period, and then after Josh Lafrance brought the Red Wings back into the game again, Morgan beat Cartney again over the shoulder, this time on a breakaway at 13:57.
Matt Smith’s tap-in on a fortuitous bounce with 2:35 left on the clock capped the scoring.
Makarski was brought in last week via the Burlington Cougars to push for ice time, and did well in his first outing for the club.
“I was very happy for him to get a win in his first game as a Ranger,” Joslin said.
“He’s a big goalie, and he’s sound positionally. He lets pucks hit him, so he’s a nice addition and hopefully we just keep rolling with good goaltending.”
The Rangers are back in action on Friday night when they travel to Pickering to take on the Panthers. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.