By Jamie Neugebauer, Staff Writer
All season the sense within the North York organization there has been a sense that there is something special in the hearts and characters of this particular group of Rangers.
On Tuesday evening in Game 4 versus the St. Michael’s Buzzers, they proved that to be true once again as they climbed back from down 3-1 with 10 minutes remaining in the contest to win 5-3 and even the series at two.
The victory is even more impressive considering a heartbreaking triple overtime defeat in Game 3.
After the game, North York bench boss John Dean shared where this squad ranks among those that he has coached in his career.
“This is the most resilient group I’ve ever coached,” he said, “a lot of special things happened today.”
Adam Valadao chipped in a Michael Giacometti rebound to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 1:14 of the second period, but three straight goals from the Buzzers seemed to put North York on the ropes.
Yet with 9:27 remaining in the third period, down 3-1, North York refused to give up.
John Carpino redirected in a Scott Maguire point shot to begin the comeback, and then Corey Kalk, the league’s playoff scoring leader, took over.
First, the ‘dynamo duo’ hooked up 14 seconds later as Piacentini found Carpino at the St. Mike’s blue line before slipping a perfect pass to Kalk who buried far side on St. Mike’s goaltender Adrian Ignagni.
Then on the cycle, Carpino slipped the puck in front to an uncovered Kalk and once again the Thornhill native made no mistake to give North York its first lead of the game with 1:56 left in regulation.
He then completed the hat trick with an empty netter.
“I don’t want to name a lot of names [after this game],” said Coach Dean.
“But I think you have to name Corey Kalk. I think he’s been through a lot and as usual, game in and game out this season, he and his line mates rose to the occasion.”
The line of Carpino, Valadao and Kalk combined for five goals and nine points on the night while Maguire had his first multi-point outing of the post-season.
“I think the best teams pick themselves up on their own,” Dean continued.
“Leaders come out of the woodwork. We were down but good teams find energy and I think it all just snowballed. All of a sudden guys found their legs and although both teams probably didn’t think the game was pretty, we will certainly take the result any day.”
The Rangers will now head to St. Mike’s Arena for Game 5 on Wednesday night.