(Photo by Andy Corneau / OJHL Images)
Ryan Takamatsu and Louis Kereakou both found the back of the net but they were not enough to prevent the Orangeville Flyers from defeating North York 4-2 in Game 1 of the pre-season for the Rangers.
Rookie goaltender Kasimir Krol was excellent in making 30 of 32 saves for the visiting Flyers, while Jeremie Lintiner and Matthew Menna shared 25 shots in the North York net.
Afterward, Rangers’ head coach Brent Hughes chalked up the performance to Game 1 nerves.
“We have had a very short time to put some structure in,” he said.
“So as far as that, the jitters were there. Tomorrow will be the real test to see what we need to focus on. I thought a couple guys were trying to do too much, trying to beat guys one-on-one, as opposed to using support and moving the puck. The little things like that killed us, so we have the first game out of the way, and tomorrow we get back to work.”
Rookie Zac Vukosa’s point shot from the left corner of the blue line took a deflection off a Ranger and beat Lintiner 9:57 of the first period, but Takamatsu completed a pretty passing play on the power play less than six minutes later to tie the game at one.
Jason Pineo jammed in a loose puck that Menna had spilled in the crease at the 17:59-mark of the second period to put the Flyers back up, but despite some furious pressure from North York throughout the third period, the Rangers were unable to find a way past Krol for the equalizer.
“I am not going to complain about the effort,” said Hughes.
“One thing that I have said from Day 1 is that we may not be the most skilled team, but we are going to be a team that never gets out-worked. Today we had our chances, and their goaltender made some nice saves; sometimes we made him look a little too good. We are going to get our chances through hard work, and we have to just focus on doing the little things right.”
Two Kosta Likourezos empty netters sandwiched a Kereakou tap-in with 2:01 left on the clock in the third.
The defeat dropped the Rangers’ pre-season record to 0-1, while the Flyers improved to 3-0.
North York will look for redemption in its second and final exhibition game Monday night when it travels to Orangeville. The puck is scheduled to drop at Adler St. Arena at 7:30 p.m.