By Jamie Neugebauer
Matthew Whittaker had his first two-goal game of the season but it was not enough to prevent the North York Rangers from falling 5-4 to the Stouffville Spirit on Sunday.
Liam Kerins jammed in the puck from a scramble with 1:23 left in regulation and the Rangers down 5-2 and then Whittaker cut the Spirit lead to one with a wrister from the slot at 19:50 of the third, but by then it was a little too little and a little too late.
North York captain Patrick Piacentini was happy with his group’s resolve post-game.
“It was a little too late before we got going,” Piacentini said, “but as you said, the boys didn’t quit so that’s the positive I guess.”
John Carpino scored a goal in his fourth straight contest to even the game up at one with a quick release from the slot at 17:24 of the first, while Whittaker tipped in the team’s second goal on the power play about a minute and a half into the second.
Kerins’ goal to start the attempted rally also came on the man advantage, giving the Rangers an impressive 4-for-10 on the power play for the weekend.
“We’re definitely moving in the right direction as far as the power play is concerned,” said Piacentini, who quarterbacks the first unit.
“I think we’re starting to find our rhythm with the extra man and while there is always room to improve, I think we’re definitely heading in the right direction.”
Corey Kalk’s two assists extended his point-scoring streak to 10 games and gave him his fourth multi-point outing of the campaign.
Jason Pucciarelli made 28 saves on the afternoon as the Rangers’ record fell to 5-0-1-6 on the season.
North York is next in action when it travels north to take on the Aurora Tigers – the first team that the Rangers beat this season – on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.