New York Rangers Coach Andrew Billinghurst has constantly kept his team focused on the next game, and the next game only, and looking no further out to a team like Detroit Honeybaked, one of the favorites in the Quebec International PeeWee Tournament. Well, the time is NOW when the Rangers face off with Honeybaked Friday, February 17, at 10:30 a.m.
The Rangers became one of the eight teams still undefeated in the winner's bracket, thanks to a hard-fought, 2-1 win over Anaheim Junior Ducks Thursday. The Detroit team advanced with a 4-1 win over Buffalo Junior Sabres. One of those scores was an empty-netter in the final seconds of the game. Honeybaked's other win came over the Los Angeles Kings, 2-0.
The Honeybaked game promises to be a championship-like battle as the 'Baked team has six goals in two games and allowed one, while the Rangers have scored five goals and allowed just a single tally in bracket games. The Rangers plan to grab some of that magic that the Buffalo Junior Sabres had Thursday when the Sabres did not allow a goal during a five-minute power play by the Detroiters.
In the Rangers' 2-1 win Thursday, it was very clearly stated that the D was ready to play when they held Anaheim without a shot on a power kill in the opening minutes of the game. Then it was the offense's statement time. The shots were difficult to get off in the first half of period one, but then came the explosion when Eddie Romano threw his body next to the net to stop a shot (and just got a small bruise). Then Devin Kaplan and Connor Welsh took charge on the power play as they streaked up ice, andKaplan took a Welsh pass for a score at 7:43 in the first period.
Of course, the defense continued to do its brilliant job including when Gavin Moffatt made a HUGE stick save when Anaheim thought it had an open shot. Moffatt kinda "said" not on my watch or something of the sort!
In the second period, the Rangers had a four-shot flurry at the net…to no avail. And then came two break-aways broken up by nice Ducks back checks. The D Wall continued to do its stingy job, allowing just a few shots in the period. The Rangers continued to pepper the net with shots, but couldn't land one, including on a power play at mid-period when three and then four shots produced a zero. It wasn't like Moffatt had time to relax, as Anaheim then started to put two big bodies in front of the net - see the puck or not, Moffatt had three sweet stops in traffic at the end of the period.
When the Ducks started to penetrate the NY defense late in the second, our guys continued to make big stops and quieted down those silly Duck Calls (sorry, Duck Dynasty folks).
The Rangers started out the third period with stops on some Duck runs, and our power kill D did its job, extinguishing a couple fires.
Then the offense did its thing when Welsh and Kaplan had a give-and-go down ice, but Kaplan's shot was blocked by the goalie and Welsh was just inches away from putting in his shot. But no matter, 'cause Kaplan and Beanie Richter teamed up on a pretty play, with the Big K finding the five-hole.
The team parents' nerves calmed a bit with a 2-0 lead in the third. But wait, don't relax. The Ducks scored with three minutes left in the game. And more unnerving at the end of the game was another power play for the Ducks, pulling the goalie and going six on four. The Rangers had to fight off several shots on goal but Moffatt was in charge to kill off the late attack to hold on for the 2-1 win.