By Jamie Neugebauer
Gabriel Valenzuela led the way with two goals while Alex Leader jammed home the game winner at 10:17 as the North York Rangers withstood the St. Michael’s Buzzers’ rally to take Game 2 4-3 Friday.
Corey Kalk also had a multi-point outing with a goal and an assist while regular season scoring champion David Italiano countered with two markers for the hosts.
CJ Shugart scored his second power-play goal in as many games to give the Buzzers the lead 13:04 into the contest, but Kalk evented proceedings just over two minutes later.
Valenzuela got his first of two unassisted tallies at 17:40 to give the Rangers the lead heading into the first intermission.
Valenzuela got his second a mere 2:20 into the second to stretch North York’s advantage to 3-1, but Italiano’s power-play marker at 15:04 of the middle frame began the Buzzers’ mini-rally.
Italiano scored again 1:44 into the third, but Leader crashed the front of St. Mike’s goaltender George Argiropoulos’ net and banged home a rebound to give the visitors a crucial Game 2 victory.
Jason Pucciarelli made 22 saves in the victory.
The Rangers will look to take a 3-0 stranglehold on the series in Game 3 on Sunday afternoon at the Herb Carnegie Centennial Arena, puck drops at 3 p.m.