After an incredible night at the Herb, the North York Rangers have broken their previous franchise record for wins in a season with their 35th of the campaign following a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Jr Sabres.
The Rangers were off to a dangerous start, scoring two goals early in the game to set the tone. The Rangers have been one of the top teams in the first period of games, and when scoring first, they’ve lost just once this season. Ryan Radisa knew that stat and fired a shot from the point, blasting a shot past Brian George to make it 1-0 for the Rangers.
Then, at 10:31, Grayden Gottschalk finished off a beautiful goal after a great passing play between Jesse Tucker and Noah Jordan, scooping the puck over George to make it 2-0, giving the Rangers an extended lead halfway through the opening frame.
The Rangers exploded for four goals in the second period, putting the game far out of place. At 3:20, Harrison Rees got one from the point after somehow sneaking the puck through a small opening in the Sabres net, beating George to make it 3-0. Three minutes after that, Kyle Clarke got one of his own, with the veteran Rangers captain grabbing a rebound in close to put the Rangers up by four.
The Sabres would get goals three minutes apart from the likes of Anthony Hora and Nathan Berke, but Jordan made sure to put his mark on the game. At 18:33, Jordan would score the first goal on new Sabres netminder Jeremy Forman, putting in a rebound past Forman’s blocker to make it 5-2. A minute later, Jordan scored on an exact same play, with both original shots coming from Jesse Tucker, who had four points in the first two periods alone. Trevor Peca would score one for the Sabres, but that wasn’t enough to change the course of the contest as the Rangers would hold for the 6-3 victory at the Herb.
With the win, the Rangers have broken their previous franchise wins record set back in 1976-77. That year, the Rangers went on to win the OPJHL title, their lone championship in team history.
The win comes at the expense off of a Buffalo team that North York could end up facing come playoff time, with the Rangers currently holding a 3-1 series advantage heading into their final regular-season contest on February 19th in Buffalo.
The Rangers will get some time to celebrate the historic evening before hosting the Pickering Panthers in the final home game of the regular season next Sunday, a 3:00 PM start at the Herb. Hope to see you there!
Photo from Steven Ellis/North York Rangers