QUEBEC - Tonight at Le Colisee, the New York Pee Wee Rangers represented the red, white, and blue of their Ranger and American colors with pride, as they defeated a very tough opponent from the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, British Columbia by a 2-0 score.
Spencer Knight, brilliant once again, stopped all 21 shots he faced as he backstopped the New York club to his second shutout in three official tournament games. Knight’s teammates battled hard in front of him all night long, combining grit and skill in high proportion.
In front of a crowd of more than 5,000 hockey fans who gathered for the 4:45 pm opening draw, the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins, an organization that produced the likes of Glenn Anderson and Paul Kariya, gave the Pee Wee Rangers all they could handle. At different times it seemed like everyone in the building was rooting for the Burnaby Bruins – except of course for the hearty gathering of Pee Wee Rangers family and friends in section 219 of Le Colisee, who kept up a steady chant of "Let’s Go Rangers."
In the first period, a critical moment came when defenseman Ryan Pineault got caught on a pinch and was sent off for tripping as he stopped a near breakaway. But a determined group of Rangers penalty killers, including Zach Mouzakes and Connor Carroll, clogged the passing lanes and blocked shots without a problem.
The game remained scoreless into the second period and again required another crucial penalty kill by the Pee Wee Rangers.
In the third period on a fresh sheet of ice, the Pee Wee Rangers made their skill and will evident. In particular, Trevor Zegras, who handled the puck masterfully all game long, took control at the midway point of the third, as he deked and dangled around the Bruins net until he found Artie Kaliev on the doorstep. Kaliev, a goal scoring machine, made no mistake, and the Rangers took a 1-0 lead.
7:48 remained in the period, and it was time for the red, white, and blue to show how much they wanted to win. Will Gilson, CK Giancola and Liam McLinskey were among the defensive stalwarts who gave it everything they had.
Finally with less than two minutes remaining, Burnaby pulled their goaltender. Somewhat surprisingly on a faceoff at the right dot near the Burnaby blueline, the Bruins kept their goalie on the bench. Trevor Zegras won a draw back to Ryan Pineault, who retrieved the puck on the far side of the red line, skated across, and lifted a knuckleball – American style – that bounced its way across the Burnaby goal line. Final score: Pee Wee Rangers 2, Burnaby 0. A thrilling night for the red, white, and blue had come to a very happy end.
After the game, goaltender Spencer Knight gave credit to his teammates, "I thought we played well. We definitely out-executed them, held them off, and when we got our chance, we put the puck in the net. At the end, the empty-netter sealed the game."
The Pee Wee Rangers return to Le Colisee today for a quarter-final matchup at 1 pm.