Max Novick scored the long-range winner in overtime as the North York Rangers lived to fight another day, with another dramatic win at Scotiabank Pond, this time by the score of 3-2 in Game 5 on Thursday.
Novick collected a rebound off a Luke Kutkevicius chance, whipped it from the half-wall through a crowd, and then past Toronto Jr. Canadiens goaltender Daniel Lopapa at the 7:22 mark of the second overtime period.
The victory cut the Jr. Canadiens’ lead in the series to 3-2.
“I am so proud of these guys right now,” said North York head coach Mark Joslin post-game.
“They’ve shown some incredible perseverance, to battle back with 37 seconds left in the season, to tie it up and give yourselves a chance to fight another period, it goes a long way for the character that has obviously shown up here in the playoffs.”
Nick Zanette got the Rangers the lead at 10:37 of the second period when he re-directed home a Kyle Clarke wrist shot; but Ryan MacSpadyen got it back just over four minutes later with a well-aimed wrister off the rush from the left wing.
Justin Maiolino one-timed a slap shot right off the draw 33 seconds into the third frame to give Toronto its first lead of the contest; but Michael Morgan was a hero again for the Rangers, chipping home the game-tying goal on the power play from in tight with 29 seconds left on the clock.
Novick has been solid for the Rangers so far this post-season.
“Early on this year I thought Max was a guy who was just kind of happy to be a part of this program,” Joslin said of the 18-year-old defenceman.
“But with the injuries to our defence corps, he has obviously stepped up into a much bigger role. He is really focused, and he has made the most of a great opportunity for himself, and that paid dividends today.”
Gianluca Baggetta was downright miraculous in net for North York in the contest, and especially in the first overtime, where he made 24 saves in those 20 minutes alone.
“The first overtime he was lights out the best player on the ice for both teams combined,” said Joslin of the second year goaltender.
“He and made a couple of big saves in the second OT as well to give us a chance. He was an absolute monster tonight.”
The series now shifts back to the Herb Carnegie Centennial Arena for Game 6 on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m..