The Rangers are known for their consistent playoff berths for the past decades, but they have not been in this situation to often. For the first time since 2013 and the second time in over 15 years North York will battle in the conference finals. The defending champion Wellington Dukes are the only team standing in the way of the franchise to possibly win their first championship since 1977.
This team does not knock out opponents with an offensive punch, they do so with goaltending and defence. Jett Alexander continues to show why he snagged the OJHL goaltender of the year. The Bloomfield, Ont., native is 8-1 with a 1.62 goals against average and .950 save percentages, which are nearly identical numbers to his regular season stats.
Wellington had a tough time solving Alexander in the regular season matchups. They only found the back of the net three times on 61 shots and lost both games (5-1, 4-2).
OJHL defenceman of the year Joey Maziarz headlines a very proven back end. The 19-year-old plays in every situation, logging a ton of minutes. He and his defensive partners Harrison Rees are responsible for shutting opposing team’s top unit, while also chipping in offensively. Maziarz currently leads the team in assists and (10) and points 12. North York holds five players on their blue line were a part of the squad last year.
The Dukes come into this series battle tested. They fought back from a 3-1 series deficit of the Whitby Fury to get to this point. Led by studs Andrew Rinaldi, Tyson Gilmour and Elijah Gonsalves, Wellington has scored the second most goals per games (3.67) in the playoffs so far..
The Rangers contain a ton of depth, which gave both the Toronto Junior Canadiens and St. Michael’s Buzzers problems. Any line can score at any time. So far this playoff run, 10 players have found the back of the net twice, with Ross Krieger and Jonathan Hampton holding a team-high four goals. Wellington’s starting goalie Logan Bateman and the defence will be in tough to slow down this offence. Especially since they have allowed just under three goals per game.
The Rangers were and still are a huge beneficiary on special teams. They are currently are an unprecedented 34.48% (10-for-28) on the power play. On the short handed side of things, North York is somewhat under performing to their standard at 85.71% compared to a league-best 90.6% during the regular season