In the parity heavy landscape of the Southwest Conference this season, a stretch of bad bounces and injuries can cost a club a lot – such has been the case with the North York Rangers lately.
The club battled hard this past weekend, but those aforementioned bad breaks led directly to two defeats; the first a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens Saturday evening, and the second a heartbreaking 4-2 drawback against the Buffalo Jr. Sabres Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Nick Zanette and Ture Linden helped the Rangers stay in a back and forth first period at the Canadiens Saturday, but three goals against on 11 shots in the opening frame, mixed with a strong performance by Toronto goaltender Dalton Ewing the rest of the way, prevented North York from a much needed road win.
Ex-Ranger midget Jason Pineo, along with Matteo DiGiulio and Jake Joffe got the tallies for the Canadiens, while minor midget call-up Jackson Brand was excellent in net in relief of Jett Alexander for the second and third periods in the North York net.
Sunday’s contest against Buffalo began brilliantly for the Rangers as Noah Robinson blasted home a backhander on a breakaway 4:38 into the contest to give North York a much-needed early lead.
Yet 8:21 into the opening frame, Jr. Sabres captain Brendan Dunning dangerously drilled Rangers defender Joey Maziarz into the boards, and though North York scored on the ensuing power play via a bank shot off the stick of Jesse Anderson, the game turned from that moment on.
Buffalo would score four straight through two from Adam Tretowicz, and singles by Colton McKenna and Cameron Radziwon to hand the Rangers their seventh loss in nine games. They now sit in a season low-seeding of eighth in the Southwest Conference.
Brand, who made his first career junior start, was sharp in stopping 26 shots while Alex Camarre responded with 29 saves of his own.
North York will look to get back on track Friday night when it travels to Oakville to take on the Blades, puck drops at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex at 7:30 p.m.