A double overtime marker by Nick Leshuk gave the North York Rangers a 2-1 win over the Aurora Tigers in a thrilling contest.
The Rangers had a strong first period, but they still allowed the first goal of the game. At 3:44, Matt Ferrari left the puck for Jake Bricknell on the rush. Bricknell would fire a hard wrist shot past Colby Muise’s glove and in, giving the road team the early advantage.
Three minutes after that, the Rangers knotted it up at two. This time, Matthew Hubbarde rushed into the zone and fired the puck, with goalie Bradley Van Schubert deflecting it away. A tag team effort by Hubbarde and Ross Krieger to force the turnover and allowed Hubbarde to walk in and shovel a high backhander into the net, giving both teams a goal early.
Despite both teams missing key players due to the World Junior A Challenge training camp taking place in Toronto weekend, the action was fierce, the physicality was prevalent and the pace was excellent. Each team was looking for the go-ahead goal but the goaltending at both ends were too good in the close contest, meaning the next goal would be an important one.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the final 40 minutes, with the intense battle heading to overtime. It was the first OT game at the Herb this year and fourth in five games overall for the Rangers, including a 3-2 OT win over Orangeville a night ago.
The extra time proved to be extremely important for the Rangers, who would secure the victory. With 1:33 complete in the second overtime, Nick Leshuk scored on a tick-tac-toe place at the side of the net, deflecting the puck in to give the Rangers a sigh of relief in one of the most intense games of the season.
The Rangers will return to the ice on Tuesday when they head to Whitby to face the Fury on Tuesday night at 8PM. The Rangers will then face division rivals Oakville at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex on Friday before welcoming the Toronto Patriots to the Herb next Sunday at 3PM.
Photo from Steven Ellis/North York Rangers