By Jamie Neugebauer
For the Rangers it is mission almost accomplished as they battled to a 2-0 Game 5 victory to take a 3-2 series lead over the Blades on Wednesday night.
Corey Kalk continued to run roughshod over Oakville with another two points on the evening, including the game winning goal, to bring his playoff stat line to seven goals and 14 points in five games.
After the game, North York head coach John Dean was already focused on Game 6 on Friday.
“I’m very happy I thought the boys played a good game,” he said of Game 5, “I thought once again that we took it to them in the third period, but now it’s time to take one in Oakville.”
Kalk opened the scoring at 4:34 of the first period when he redirected a Michael Giacometti point shot past Blades’ net minder Evan Buitenhuis.
That score line held up until the third when Liam Kerins blasted a one-timer from the right half-boards on the power play with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
Due to personal reasons, team captain Dana Tenenbaum was unable to play, but coach Dean felt his team rallied around the loss on the day of their leader.
“We talked in between periods about how bad Dana would have wanted to be here,” he said, “and about how much he cares for the other 19 guys in the room and we dedicated the period to ‘Bomber’.”
Jason Pucciarelli, who earned the shutout and the game’s first star, made a classy move when he passed on his game puck (a team honour bestowed on the best player in a win) to Tenenbaum.
The Rangers now seek to win the series in Game 6 on Friday night in Oakville.
Notes: John Carpino has 10 points in the five playoff games, good for second in the league … Liam Kerins has seven in the five games … Kalk is the league leader and has had multiple points in each game of the post-season so far.