RANGERS HOLD OFF VITO’S TO STAY PERFECT
QUISPAMSIS, N.B. – Spencer Adamson’s goal seven minutes into the third period stood up as the game-winner, and the North York Rangers survived a third-period push from the Saint John Vito’s to earn a 3-2 win Wednesday night and stay undefeated at the 2016 TELUS Cup.
The victory sets up a match-up between the two remaining unbeaten teams on Thursday afternoon when the Rangers face off against the Lions du Lac St-Louis (4 p.m. AT).
James Turner and Jason Pineo had the other goals for the Rangers, who are the first Central Region team to open the tournament with three consecutive wins since the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in 2006.
North York goaltender Jett Alexander, making his first start since blanking the Saskatoon Contacts in the tournament opener on Monday, finished with 27 saves, including 18 in the third period.
Matt Palmer and Alex Hambly managed to get pucks past Alexander for the Vito’s, both denting the mesh in the final 20 minutes to get the hosts back in the game late.
Turner got the scoring started 2:42 after the puck dropped, taking a pass from William Calverley and wiring a shot past the ear of Saint John netminder Michael Parkhill, who was making his tournament debut.
Midway through the period, Pineo jumped on a turnover and beat Parkhill over the shoulder with North York shorthanded, sending the Rangers to the first intermission up 2-0.
They held their two-goal advantage through the first 40 minutes, holding Saint John to just nine shots on goal.
But the offence awoke for the Vito’s in the third period, racking up 20 shots in the final frame compared to just six for the Rangers.
Palmer got the capacity crowd at the qplex excited 3:16 into the period, knocking in the rebound of a Cole Theriault shot to make it 2-1, but Adamson answered less than four minutes later when his wrist shot from inside the blue-line bounced off a Vito’s defender and fooled Parkhill.
Benefitting from a late power play, the Vito’s pulled Parkhill for a six-on-four advantage and cut into the North York lead on Hambly’s tap-in with 1:23 remaining.
Unfortunately for the hosts and the pro-Vito’s crowd, that would be the game’s final goal.
Saint John will look to lock up a semifinal berth on Thursday when it meets the winless Saskatoon Contacts (7:30 p.m. AT), right after the Rangers-Lions showdown.