CARDINAL – The South Grenville Rangers faced their toughest competition this season on February 8th at home in Cardinal, and didn’t win.
In fact, the Rangers lost to the Vankleek Hill Cougars 11-5, the team’s first loss at home this season.
South Grenville went toe-to-toe with Vankleek Hill early in the first period. Four minutes into the game, the Cougars led the Rangers 2-1. That second goal by Vankleek Hill was the first of four short-handed goals in a row for the team. By the end of the first period, the Rangers trailed the Cougars 4-2. Owen Webster and Dylan Sharpley each scored for South Grenville in the period.
The Rangers kept pace with the Cougars in the second period as each team scored twice. Webster scored on the power-play, while Aiden Bailey scored for SGR at even-strength. It was one of the few times in the period the teams played five-on-five hockey. The clearly physical game showed with a combined 221 penalty minutes assessed for the 60 minute hockey game. South Grenville continued to trail Vankleek Hill 6-4 as the teams headed into the third period.
Things did not improve in the third period as the Cougars scored five times on veteran net-minder Sam Limoges-Ring. Webster (from Jordan Dodge and Bailey) scored South Grenville’s only goal in the period, 11 seconds into a Rangers’ power-play. Vankleek Hill beat South Grenville 11-5.
On the heels of that loss, the Rangers visited the North Dundas Rockets the following afternoon (February 9th), losing 6-5.
The Rockets blasted ahead with a two-goal lead by the end of the first period, and added four more goals by the halfway mark of the second. South Grenville trailed North Dundas 6-0 until Webster (from Brody Ranger and Cameron Dillon) put the Rangers on the scoreboard with 5:04 remaining in the period. The Rangers trailed the Rockets 6-1 and were looking for a comeback.
That comeback began four minutes into the third period. Sharpley, followed by Brayden Forestell, and Webster had the Rockets lead cut to two goals by the final 10 minutes in the game.
North Dundas’ defence has improved over the season and it showed as the team would not allow the Rangers to get through until the final minute of the game. Ranger (from Mathieu Giroux and Forestell) drew South Grenville within a goal from tying, but the clock ran out. The Rangers lost to the Rockets for the first time this season.
Despite the pair of losses, the team will start the playoffs as top seed, and will play either the Metcalfe Jets or West Carleton Inferno. Those teams are locked in a virtual tie for the final playoff spot, to be settled this week.
Before the playoffs begin, South Grenville still has a pair of rescheduled regular season games to play.
First, the team will host the Gatineau Hull-Volant on February 15th. Then on February 16th, they host the Clarence Castors. Both games are in Cardinal.