By Jamie Neugebauer
A big part of being a successful organization is the constant belief that winning is always within reach.
With the ability and depth that the Rangers have, that belief is certainly a reality.
It took the them almost 54 minutes to break through offensively, but they finally made Milton pay as North York pulled out a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime win on Sunday afternoon.
Rangers assistant coach Matt Johnston always had faith in the boys in blue.
“I think it shows that we have a lot of talent,” he said regarding the nature of the North York victory.
“We’re so deep talent-wise and at the end of the day, we’re never out of a game. Guys are not giving up, guys are fighting for pucks and the only unfortunate thing is that we took a couple periods off.”
Matthew Whittaker deflected in Charles Lapierre’s point shot to tie the game at one at the 13:47-mark of the third period, and then Michael Giacometti’s wrister from the high slot beat a screened Dan Plater in the IceHawks net to even it up again with only 37 seconds left in regulation after Milton had re-taken the one-goal lead.
Ryan Kinsella scored the winner at 2:11 of overtime, beating Plater with another screened wrist-shot. The former Toronto Lakeshore Patriot had not scored a game-winner in 114 junior games before joining the Rangers, but now has two in 39 games this year.
For Johnston, winning the hard-fought contests means more than just two points in the standings.
“I think it definitely results in a little confidence boost,” he said.
“I think we’re definitely preparing for playoffs as the habits we develop now are the ones that are going to carry us through the playoffs, so it’s essential that we develop habits that are going to result in wins.”
Jacob Keogh was fantastic once again in net for North York, making over 40 saves for the first time this season. The Barrie native has not lost in regulation since Oct. 20.
The Rangers now sit alone in second place in the South Division, two points behind Toronto Lakeshore and two points ahead of St. Michael’s.
They are next in action on Wednesday evening when they take on the Oakville Blades at the Herb in a crucial divisional clash. Puck drops at 8:00 pm.