Rangers duel JRC in first round of playoffs

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 29: Tyler Flack #17 of the North York Rangers battles for the puck with Matthew Zebedee #17 of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the first period on December 29, 2018 at Scotiabank Pond in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andy Corneau / OJHL Images)
February 26, 2019

9:30 PM EST

The quest for the Buckland Cup begins on Wednesday (Feb. 27) when the North York Rangers battle the Toronto Junior Canadiens in a best-of-seven game series.


Game 1: Wednesday, February 27 at North York 7:30 pm 
Game 2: Saturday, March 2 at Toronto 7:30 pm
Game 3: Sunday, March 3 at North York 3:00 pm 
Game 4: Tuesday, March 5 at Toronto 7:45 pm
Game 5: Wednesday, March 6 at North York 8:00 pm *
Game 6: Saturday, March 9 at Toronto 8:00 pm *
Game 7: Sunday, March 10 at North York 3:00pm *

* If Necessary

The Rangers experienced a franchise record season with 40 wins, the first time in the team’s history, for 85 points. They finished 23 points ahead of the second place St. Michaels Buzzers to cruise to the top of the South division. North York is one of the best all around teams not just in the OJHL, but the country. They sat first in goals against per game (1.89), penalty kill (90.57%) and second in goals per game (3.96) and power play (20.94%).

A key aspect to the team’s success has been goalie Jett Alexander. The 19-year-old played in 43 games this season, the 2018 OHA top prospect award recipient had 30 wins and held a 1.67 GAA and a .945 SV%. All those stats ranked first in the OJHL. Alexander posted a 4-1-1 record with a 1.11 GAA and .966 SV% this season against JRC.

The Rangers have a ton of depth at every position. For instance offensively, every player but one recorded at least 20 points this season. Brandon Yeamans, Dante Spagnuolo and Jonathan Hampton were acquired throughout the season and they added another gear to an already potent team.

Since third-year Geoff Schomogyi took over as bench boss, he has put an emphasis on defensive responsibilities. Headlined by Joey Maziarz, who was second in points by a defenceman in the OJHL, the Rangers have five blue liners from last year’s roster. The addition of veteran Josh Rettinger and Connor Rudderham made their core even better.

North York went 5-0-1-1 against Toronto during the regular season. Saying that, the Junior Canadiens do have top end talent. Possible NHL draft picks Eric Ciccolini and Kosta Manikis are put up numbers with the best of them. This team plays a very physical and hard nose game that can get under the skin of teams.

Something to keep an eye is who Toronto will turn to between the pipes. Both Matthew Mayhew and Christian Mattiace have shown flashes of brilliance at times, but finding consistency has been a struggle.