By Jamie Neugebauer
Liam Kerins tied it with 3:42 remaining in the third period and Patrick Piacentini wired home the winner at 3:09 of overtime as the North York Rangers staved off elimination with 4-3 victory over the Toronto Patriots in Game 4 Monday.
With Toronto’s Robert Powers off for high-sticking John Carpino in the extra frame, Piacentini stepped into the middle of the ice and wristed a perfectly aimed shot past Patriot net minder Evan Buitenhuis for the Rangers’ captain’s first game-winning goal of the season.
Ted Hunt got North York off to a flying start 3:15 into the first period when he snapped home a rebound off a Tye Campbell shot from the slot, but Doug Bonar replied a mere 12 seconds later when he banged home the spoils after Kevin Shier had wired one from in tight.
Marcus Rose potted home a perfect 2-on-1 pass from Shier at 11:14 of the second period while Nathan Feric tipped home a Shier point shot with the man advantage just over a minute later.
Just when it seemed like North York was sunk, Adam Valadao went bar down on a centring pass from Matthew Whittaker under a minute after that, and then Kerins one-timed home his first of the series off a sweet feed from Carpino late in regulation.
The defeat was the Patriots’ first of the post-season after they had steamrolled the Toronto Junior Canadiens in the first round and then taken the first three contests in this series.
Jason Pucciarelli made 27 saves in goal for North York and was solid after Gianluca Baggetta was given the start in Game 3.
The Rangers are back in action Wednesday night when they travel back to Westwood Arena for Game 5, puck drops at 7 p.m. in Etobicoke.