By Steven Ellis
The North York Rangers couldn’t stop the Toronto Jr. Canadiens late in the game, losing 5-3 after erasing a three-goal deficit.
The first period was not a memorable one, with the Rangers trailing 3-0 after 14 minutes of play. Matthew Rehding got the game started with his 16th goal of the campaign after NHL Draft prospect Jack McBain kept the puck alive along the boards, with Rehding finishing off the effort to make it 1-0.
Jason Pineo would make it 2-0 not too long after. OJHL rookie Chad Lopez would put up a good effort to keep the puck alive, getting it to Pineo who would blast one past Jett Alexander to double the lead. Lopez would get one of his own after ripping home his 10th of the campaign, ending Alexander’s night.
The Rangers needed a bit of oomph in their step to catch back up, and a late breakaway shorthanded goal by captain Kyle Clarke helped give them some momentum. Jesse Tucker would set #12 up on the rush after a few good chances by North York, with Clarke breaking past a Toronto blueliner before potting his 12th goal of the season.
A pair of Team Canada East starts from the World Junior A challenge found the back of the net in the third to give their respective teams another goal on the board. Four minutes into the second, McBain unleashed a solid wrist shot that appeared to be tipped in front of the net, giving the Jr. Canadiens their three-goal advantage back.
But with 11 minutes left in the battle, Nick Campoli got one of his own. The Vegas Golden Knights prospect would make it 4-2 after slapping a pass from Tucker to the right of the Toronto net, cutting North York’s deficit in half. Campoli would score one more goal with time running out to give North York a chance late, but Jack Joffe scored on an empty-netter with 20 seconds to go to complete the 5-3 victory for Toronto.
The Rangers will get a few days off before facing the Mississauga Chargers on Saturday at Port Credit Arena. North York’s next home game is next Sunday, a 3:00 PM contest against the Markham Royals at the Herb. Hope to see you there!
Photo from Steven Ellis/North York Rangers