Matthew Whittaker scored the winner shorthanded at 12:38 of the second period and the North York Rangers split their season series with the Wellington Dukes with a 2-1 victory on Sunday.
Gianluca Baggetta made 29 saves in the effort, tying a career high with his 13th victory of the campaign.
Afterward, North York head coach Mark Joslin was thrilled with his club’s ability to find a way against a very tough opponent.
“It was huge for us,” he said.
“We had a couple games last week where we battled hard but didn’t find a way to win. Tonight we did come out and battle hard against Wellington, in my opinion one of the most disciplined teams in the league, which had just come off a big win over Trenton. So for us to come back and beat them two nights later, it’s huge for our club.”
Jake Harris opened the scoring for the Rangers 9:37 into the first period when he backhanded home a rebound off a Nick Zanette wrister.
Chase St. Aubin tied the contest for the Dukes at the 2:23-mark of the middle frame by redirecting a long Marco Azzano backhand past Baggetta.
It appeared as though the Dukes had tied the game 7:56 into the third period when they put the puck in the net on the power play, but the referee had blown his whistle beforehand, calling a second penalty against North York.
The Rangers killed off the lengthy two-man advantage late in the game.
“We wanted to stay tight,” said Joslin of that key moment.
“We had two forwards and a defenceman out there, we wanted to keep pucks in the perimeter. We got a bit lucky because they kept missing the net, but we kept them outside, and our penalty kill as of late has been outstanding.”
Baggetta and the Rangers team defence stayed strong the rest of the way, earning North York its sixth win out of its last eight games.
The Rangers are back in action Friday night when they travel to Oakville to battle the Blades. Puck drops at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex at 7:30 p.m.