It is a case of ‘so-far, so-good’ for the 2016-17 North York Rangers Junior ‘A’, as the club cruised to two dominant victories to open the campaign over the weekend.
New bench boss Geoff Schomogyi’s troops followed a 5-1 win over the Icehawks Friday in Milton, with a convincing 7-2 triumph vs. the Kingston Voyageurs at Victoria Village Arena Sunday afternoon in the home opener.
The Rangers were led on the Sunday by their top line of Ryan Hunt between Chris Sekelyk and Keegan Blasby, as the unit combined for six goals and 10 points.
“Those guys were huge today and they are huge for us,” said Schomogyi post-game.
“They are especially big for us with some of the younger guys we have. They are definitely leading the way right now, showing the younger guys our expectations, and how they need to play to be successful at this higher level. It definitely helps that they are great kids too.”
Rookie Rocco Andreacchi opened the scoring at 3:19 of the opening period when he slipped in alone on a pretty feed from second-year defenceman Jake DeMaeyer, and flipped a nifty backhand over the right shoulder of Kingston goaltender Zach Springer.
Another rookie, Harrison Toms, notched his first career junior goal when his blast from the point over five minutes later found the back of the net.
Vees defenceman Kyle Hallbauer then sandwiched two power-play goals around a Ryan Hunt tap-in from the side of the net in the final 10 minutes of the first frame, concluding a wild five-goal opening stanza.
The second period belonged to the Rangers.
Sekelyk counted two rocket snipes at the 2:12 and 3:54-marks of the second period, respectively, and when Hunt poked in a shot from the big winger that had squibbed through Springer at 14:12, the contest was all-but over.
The veteran left-winger Sekelyk wired home his hat-trick marker with 45 seconds left in the second to give North York its final 7-2 lead.
A comfortable margin in the end, but it would not have been the case were it not for an excellent 42 often-difficult save performance by 20-year-old goaltender Jeremie Lintner.
“Jeremy was great today,” said Schomogyi.
“He was out challenging a lot, made some great saves, and was eating pucks and not giving up a lot of those juicy rebounds. He kept us in the game until our offence could get into a groove and take over.”
North York will now take a week to practice before returning to its temporary home at Victoria Village Arena next Sunday afternoon to take on the Orangeville Flyers.
The Rangers will look to go 3-0 to start a season for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, when the club recorded wins over the Villanova Knights, Orangeville Crushers, and Dixie Beehives.
Story by Jamie Neugebauer, Director of Communications
Image by OJHL Images