By Jamie Neugebauer
Michael Morgan scored twice and Gabriel Valenzuela notched the winner as the North York Rangers (6-9) downed the St. Michael’s Buzzers (5-10-0-1) 4-2 in the Pink at the Rink game at the Herb Carnegie Centennial Arena on Sunday.
Rangers’ goaltender Gianluca Baggetta was excellent on the contest, making 38 saves for his sixth victory of the season
Afterward, North York head coach Mark Joslin was proud of how his team battled after an emotional loss on Saturday.
“I felt like we had a great third period yesterday against, in my opinion, the best team in the league,” said Joslin, “and I told them that we need to play a whole game like that.
“I don’t think we played 60 minutes today, but I thought we were close, and now we have a bit of a run on our schedule where we have some games that are winnable. We just have to find a way to focus for the whole game each night, not easy but a nice job today.”
Morgan opened the scoring 1:20 into the contest when he backhanded in a rebound from a Christian Zanetti point shot.
“He’s one of the faster skaters in the league,” Joslin said, regarding Morgan.
“I think he’s starting to find his legs after being out for a while. We moved him to the wing to give him a little more room and he beat guys wide four or five times today as a result. I think he’s starting to come along really nice.”
Thomas Beretta tied the contest for the Buzzers on the power play at 8:49 of the opening period by snapping in a screened shot from the half wall; and then Ashur Elliot gave St. Mike’s their only lead of the game 47 seconds into the second by converting a point-blank opportunity on a five-on-three.
Morgan tied it up again less than two minutes later with a wrister that beat St. Mike’s goaltender Mark Manolescu over the blocker, and then Valenzuela one-timed in he winner on a perfect feed from Ryan Takamatsu at 6:44 of the middle frame.
Kyle Cochrane patiently outwaited Manolescu on a rebound to seal the game with 1:30 remaining in regulation
A big moment in the contest came late in the third period when Beretta, who was alone in front of the net, seemingly had an open net to tie the game. Yet Baggetta, who made a number of key stops on the contest, lunged to his left and snagged the puck out of the air with his glove to rob the Buzzers’ veteran.
“Last year he showed that he was capable of stepping up and being the number one guy,” said Joslin of Baggetta.
“This year he has that opportunity and he’s certainly running with it. Today he definitely deserves a lot of credit for the win.”
Valenzuela now has points in all but one of North York’s 15 games, and has 15 points in his current run of finding the score sheet in seven straight. His goal was his second game winner of the season.
The Rangers now have the week off before traveling to Westwood Arena on Saturday to take on the Toronto Patriots. Puck drops at 7:45 p.m.