By Jamie Neugebauer
Tye Campbell tied the game with under ten minutes left in the third period and Matthew Whittaker fired home the winner in the shootout as the North York Rangers beat the Toronto Patriots 3-2 in their final game of the regular season.
The victory pulls the Rangers three points clear in third place in the Southwest Conference with 64 points, with fourth spot now the furthest they could finish.
Afterward, North York head coach John Dean was excited with the win.
“This game was huge for us,” he said.
“It almost solidifies third place for us in the confidence and given the fact that historically we haven’t had a great time with shootouts, it’s a real big energy boost for the guys for sure. Moving into the playoffs with two big wins is always nice as well.”
Niko Kovachis opened the scoring for the Patriots when his screened point shot beat a screened Jason Pucciarelli 12:07 into the first period.
Corey Kalk wired home his 20th of the season to even the game at 5:30 of the third period on the power play, but Luke Carter gave the visitors back the lead under three minutes later, jamming home a loose puck in front of the North York net.
Campbell’s game-tying marker came off a one-timer from a beautiful pass from Kalk at 10:55, giving the Mississauga native his seventh as a Ranger and his 25th goal in his 100th and final regular season game in junior hockey.
Whittaker’s winner came on the club’s fourth attempt of the skills competition, and was the only goal of the shootout.
North York will have home-ice advantage in the first round of the post-season, though its opposition is still in question, as it will take on Milton, St. Mike’s or Georgetown.
Stay tuned to the Rangers website, Facebook and twitter account for more information!