Certainly the Quebec International PeeWee Tournament bracket games are the major focus, but the PeeWee New York Rangers gain confidence with three wins. The biggie was the 3-0 win over highly-regarded Whitby Saturday in bracket play. Then came the Sunday, February 12 Showcase win over Quebec Typhon by a 4-0 score. The opening Showcase win was a 7-0 romp past Slovakia Stars.
The win was pleasing enough but the big story were the "sleepless" Rangers. Saturday night's 8:30 p.m. start was moved later to 9:30. So the storyline was: win the late game, hit the hay by about 11:30 p.m.; then up at 6:30 a.m. and ready to play Quebec Typhon at 8:20 a.m.
No doubt the seven or fewer hours of sleep took some toil in the Rangers' speed game, but they did what was necessary to win. And it was again defense and goalie shutouts, and scoring enough to win again.
Michael Corrado took over the goalie duties in this game, and he and his defensive support did it again, with big plays, avoidance of the real big mistakes and getting plenty of support from the offense.
Corrado was tested early when Quebec had a break away and then a rocket shot he saved. Then came a Quebec power play with four close-range shots in a matter of seconds…..save, save, save and another save. Those plays can make one nervous….but not Corrado, as he was catching and swatting away shots in the testy first period.
Then the offense started to jell. Early in the second period on a power play, defender Leo Schwartz hit the 5-hole for the first score of the game, thanks to Beanie Richter and Devon Kaplan winning the puck off the boards, and Connor Welsh feeding the set-up pass to Schwartz.
Our team upped the score to 2-0 in the second period when Kurt Gurkan put up a shot, then Charlie Coutts and Daniel Hu crashed the net, resulting in a Hu tap in, assist for Gurkan.
An opportunistic Richter set up the third goal when he took ashot from the neutral zone on a Quebec line change, and Kaplan crashed the net for a rebound and shot and then rebounded his own shot to re-set the offense, and eventually scored the goal.
Corrado had a couple slick saves in the third period when he snagged a slap shot with all kind of company in front of the net, and then came a Quebec pass off the boards on the backside with a wrap- around. He saw it, he saved it.
The final 4-0 score came in the last seconds of the game when the Rangers had three tries at the empty net before Friedmanconverted the goal.
Corrado captured 17 saves for the day, and the Rangers took 20 shots on goal.
Coach Andrew Billinghurst said that "the boys had a tough task today, having to take the ice on very little sleep after last night's (Saturday night's) win. I thought they did a good job under the circumstances against a strong Canadian team."
Dante DeBueris passed on kudos, saying that "the team did a good job defensively to protect Mikey (Corrado)."
Next up for the Rangers gang is Monday, February 13 in a Showcase game against San Jose Junior Sharks.
The next game in bracket play comes Thursday, February 16, when the Rangers play Anaheim Junior Ducks. The California team knocked off Belle Tire, 4-1, to open bracket play. The balanced attack showed four different goal-scorers and nine different players racking up assists. The Ducks wasted no time taking control, netting a 2-0 lead with only 6:21 gone in the game.