It certainly is not the heart or compete level that were missing for the North York Rangers in Games 1 and 2 of their first round series with the Oakville Blades.
The boys in blue have battled for 60 minutes over both contests, but taking their scoring opportunities, and finding consistency on special teams have been two key problems.
Jesse Tucker scored at the 13:48-mark of the second period on a sweet feed from Ture Linden in Game 1, but it was not enough to stave off a hard-fought 2-1 defeat in Oakville.
The Rangers felt they outplayed the Blades, outshooting and out chancing them over the course of the game, but Jackson Bales’ tip in from right beside Jeremie Lintner’s North York net at 11:41 of the third period was the difference.
Jack Jeffers notched a power play marker to open the scoring for Oakville 15:19 into the contest, chipping home a rebound from a Daniel Jelic point shot.
Sunday afternoon at the Herb in Game 2 saw North York struggle to generate offence despite a plethora of power play chances, and two more power-play goals against, both by Oakville star Ryan Foss, made the real difference in the game.
Foss’ first came at the 7:13-mark of the second period when he rounded Lintner after cutting in from the right half wall.
Noah Robinson got his first of two on the night for North York just over three minutes later, firing home a rebound from a Joseph Mizzi point shot to tie the game, but it took Peyton Reeves and the Blades just over a minute later to take the lead again – this time for good.
Reeves banged in a centring feed from below the goal line from Chris Brill-Morgan, who had stripped Shawn Tessier on the fore check, and then Foss got his second by wiring a perfectly aimed power-play wrister at 14:04 of the middle frame over Lintner’s left shoulder.
Robinson’s second came 10:57 into the third when his short side wrist shot trickled in off Oakville goaltender Brendan McGlynn’s glove, but it was as close as North York would come.
The Rangers were outshot 32-29 in Game 2.
North York will look to cut the Blades’ series lead in half in Game 3 on Tuesday night in Oakville, puck drops at 7:30 PM, Game 4 will be back at the Herb Carnegie Centennial Arena on Wednesday at 7 PM.