By Jamie Neugebauer, Staff Writer
Lifted by a brilliant performance from rookie net minder Jacob Keogh, the Rangers held on to win a character 2-1 triumph over the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots on Friday at the Herb.
The intensity-filled, playoff-like affair was decided by two third period goals from John Carpino a mere 28 seconds apart.
After the game, North York head coach John Dean was satisfied with the victory over an opponent so practiced at emerging from similar tight contests.
“We played a very good hockey team,” he said outside the Rangers locker room.
“In years gone by, and even in the beginning of this year, they are often on the other side of the one-goal game. This time we got the win, so it feels nice.”
Energized from a strong victory over St. Mike’s last Sunday, North York came out hitting.
While the two teams had chances through the first two periods, neither could get the breakthrough, as shutting down the centre of the ice was a clear goal of both of the clubs.
Finally at 3:46 of the third frame, Carpino got the home team on the board, jamming home a rebound off of an Adam Valadao shot.
Only 28 seconds later, the Vaughan-native buried again beating Patriots goaltender Stormer Santana from a sharp angle.
Through 13 games Carpino has seven goals – exactly half of the production he managed all of last season in less than a third of the games.
“John Carpino is going to score goals all day,” Dean added.
“It’s the little stuff that he’s starting to do right that’s real nice.”
In the last half of the third period, and for the first time all season, the Rangers coach elected to pull his team into a 1-3-1 trap in order to shut down the Patriots’s flow through the neutral zone.
They move proved successful, and when Lakeshore did get through, Keogh was there.
Although Nathan Feric tipped home Alex D’Oliveira’s point shot with nine seconds to go in regulation, North York’s rookie goaltender was nearly flawless all game long while putting up his performance of the season thus far.
“Jacob Keogh is unbelievably athletic, focused, and loves to win,” Dean said about Keogh who made 31 saves on the night.
“We gave him the game puck tonight because he deserved it, he knew when he had to make saves, and I think we all have to say thank you to him.”