The victory brings the Rangers back to .500, and earns them a split of their recent stretch of four games in five days.
After the game, Coach Dean was happy yet realistic about the team’s situation.
“We know we can score against any team,” he said just outside the North York locker room.
“Bottom line we still need to tighten up on our [penalty killing] and our [defensive-zone coverage], and I think we all know it.
“But the sky is the limit with this squad.”
Tyler Gjurich got the Jr. Sabres their only lead of the game 2:51 into the game to put them up 1-0, but two Rangers power play goals from Liam Kerins and Ryan Kinsella just over 2:30 apart three minutes later set the tone for the see-saw battle that the match was to become.
Three minutes after Ryan Schmelzer had tied the game up for Buffalo, John Carpino found Kerins open trailing the rush and he made no mistake going high-glove past Buffalo goaltender Bobby Bloomfield, and rounding out the scoring in a wild first period.
Nick Gullo banked a puck in off of the right foot of Avery Allen 1:55 into the second period to tie the game up again, but Rangers goal scoring leader Taylor Pryce untied it 10 minutes later with a wicked snap shot from the slot on a North York two-man advantage.
David Seward fired home a snapper of his own from the slot on the power play at 14:21 to even the game up again, this time at four.
And then Avery Allen took over.
Although Valadao emerged as the hero after his pretty individual effort gave North York the lead with seven minutes left in regulation, the Rangers net-minder was the real star of the period as the Sabres outshot North York 18-9 in the final frame, and many of them from point-blank range.
“There are a few tweaks we still need to make,” Dean said. “We are going to have a real hard week of practice this week to fix our defensive-zone coverage, work on our compete levels, and generally working as a unit on the penalty kill.”
The Rangers finally get a rest after a hectic start to the season, and are not back in action until next Saturday when they take on the Mississauga Chargers at the Port Credit Arena.