By Jamie Neugebauer
The North York Rangers were taught a valuable lesson on Sunday: stick to systems and play as a team, or face serious consequences.
Oakville (7-6-0-1) scored four times over seven minutes in the second period, and North York (5-8) could not rally as the Blades rocked the Rangers 6-2 at the Herb Carnegie Centennial Arena.
North York head coach Mark Joslin was realistic post-game.
“I thought we had a good first period,” he said, “but we didn’t get any bounces.
“We were competing early, but Oakville is a good disciplined team, and their record isn’t an accurate indication of how good they are. We had about a seven-minute span that gave away a couple of goals, and it came back to bite us in the end.”
Blades’ forward Max Lindsay got his first of two 5:29 into the contest on the power play when he jammed in a loose puck in the crease; and then he doubled his tally at the 3:13-mark of the second by tapping in a fortuitous bounce off the end wall.
Joe Seney’s backhand evaded North York goaltender Gianluca Baggetta at 4:27 of the middle frame, and then when Kamil Tkaczuk scored under a minute after that, the rout was on.
Gabriel Valenzuela got one back for the Rangers at 8:50 by converting a pretty passing play with Jake Harris, but Greg Campbell regained the four-goal lead under two minutes later with a screened blast from the point.
Will Reilly’s bomb on a two-man advantage at 15:47 of the second period gave the hosts some hope heading into the final frame, but Tanner Shaw’s shorthanded breakaway with less than four minutes remaining in regulation put the game on ice.
Baggetta made 35 saves in the defeat.
“I guess there wasn’t a lot of quit but we didn’t stick to our systems,” Joslin repeated.
“We’re not good or veteran enough to get away from our systems. We’re successful when our systems are working and being followed, but when we fade away from that we’re just an average team.”