After the Rangers downed the Blades in Game 6 on Friday night in Oakville, the question of whom they would face in the second round became their focus. With a 3-2 overtime win by Georgetown at Toronto Lakeshore, the No. 3 Raiders clinched their series in six games as well. This meant that all four higher seeds won their series’, and that the No. 4 Rangers would take on the No. 1 Buffalo Jr. Sabres.
Here is a quick breakdown of the up-coming series.
Regular season head-to-head stats:
09/23/12 Buffalo 4 at North York 6
10/03/12 North York 3 at Buffalo 2 SO
10/07/12 Buffalo 5 at North York 4
10/21/12 Buffalo 2 at North York 4
11/14/12 North York 4 at Buffalo 5 OT
Leading scorers –
North York: John Carpino (2G, 6A), Liam Kerins (4G, 3A), Patrick Piacentini (0G, 6A)
Buffalo: Tyler Gjurich (3G, 3A), David Seward (2G, 4A), Nolan Sheeran (3G, 2A)
Rangers’ keys to victory:
- Get in Parker Gahagen’s face. The athletic Buffalo goaltender is among the elite in the OJHL and if I sees it, he will stop it. Ugly goals on the doorstep will be the name of the game if the Rangers are going to move on.
- Whoever is watching Tyler Gjurich and Ryan Schmelzer’s line better be ready. Gjurich, a 20-year-old Hatfield, PA., native, led the league in scoring with a remarkable 53 goals and 97 points in 53 games and containing him will be an important step.
Special teams. If the Buffalo power play was fantastic and consistent all season (fourth best in the league), then its penalty kill was next level. The Sabres’ ability to kill penalties (the top pk in the entire OJHL) is not surprising considering their coach is Mike Peca, but it is more than just coaching as they block shots with reckless abandon. There won’t be the pretty tic-tac-toe goals, and it is repeating key #1, but determination and simplicity will be the only way.
- Gm#1 – Mar 13th @ Buffalo Jr Sabres (First Niagara Centre) – 7pm
- Gm#2 – Mar 15th @ North York Rangers (The Herb) – 7pm
- Gm#3 – Mar 16th @ Buffalo Jrv Sabres (Buffalo State Ice Arena) – 7pm
- Gm#4 – Mar 19th @ North York Rangers (The Herb) – 7:45pm