By Jamie Neugebauer
If any questions remained about how dominant the line of John Carpino, Corey Kalk and Adam Valadao could be, they were surely silenced on Sunday as the trio led the North York Rangers to a convincing 5-2 victory in Game 3 of its best-of-seven series versus the Oakville Blades.
After three playoff games so far, the unit has combined for eight goals and 19 points; but the offensive production isn’t the biggest thing that has Rangers’ head coach John Dean excited.
“I always knew they had another gear,” he said after the game.
“Forget the goals, those guys are always going to be creative, but to watch them all blocks shots and get they are leading by example that even though they are big time goal scorers they are showing what it takes to win in the playoffs and I think the boys are really rallying around them.”
Taylor Pryce got the scoring started 17:10 of the first period after pounding home a rebound from a tremendous individual effort by Ryan Kinsella.
Rory Bell tied the game for Oakville on the power play in the second period, but the Rangers responded in the third in a big way.
Carpino blew past two Blades defenders moments after losing his right glove, and slipped a perfect pass to Kalk in front of the net at 1:42 who fired it home.
Only 26 seconds later, Liam Kerins doubled the lead when he tipped in a Dana Tenenbaum point shot, and then Carpino got his own goal at 8:38 when Kalk returned the favour with a pass out in front.
Valadao completed the third period drubbing at 14:33 when he battled through an Oakville defender to slide the puck past a sprawling Evan Buitenhuis in the Blades goal.
Afterwards, Dean was thrilled with his team’s performance in the final frame.
“I thought it was a convincing third period,” he said.
“If we had played like that for 60 minutes then the game would have really been convincing, but it’s nice to see the guys come out like that in a one-all game in the playoffs. It really shows how confident this team is, so that made me very happy.”
The victory gives the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 coming Tuesday night in Oakville. North York will return home for Game 5 on Wednesday night with a 7:30 puck drop at the Herb.