South Grenville Rangers steam roll into second

CARDINAL – A pair of wins over the weekend moved the South Grenville Rangers into second place in the National Capital Junior Hockey League.

The Rangers, entering the weekend on a three game winning streak, hosted the Westport Rideaus November 12 in Cardinal. An early power play goal by Westport’s Brock Seed put the visitors up 1-0. Nicholas McFarlane (Assists: Noah Penney and Connor VanLuit) levelled the game for South Grenville with two minutes remaining in the period. The assist was the first of what would become a four point night for VanLuit.

Early in the second, Owen Webster (Adam Chouinard, Ethan Wooller) scored the go-ahead, which was the start of four unanswered goals in the period. Thomas Dishaw (Nate Medaglia, Webster), Jacob McGonegal (Aiden Bailey, VanLuit), and VanLuit (Medaglia, McGonegal) extended South Grenville’s lead to 5-1 after 40 minutes.

Halfway through the final period the line of Medaglia, McGonegal, and VanLuit combined for another goal, VanLuit’s second of the game. A power play goal conceded in the final minute of the game by goaltender Wyatt Perras resulted in a 6-2 win for the Rangers.

The Rangers travelled to Clarence Creek November 13 to take on last season’s league champions, the Castors, in their second game match up of the season.

A breakaway early in the game by Penney put the visiting Rangers up 1-0. Team captain Medaglia was the playmaker of the game, credited with the primary assists to the following three goals. First was McGonegal’s goal late in the first period (Medaglia, Bailey) to break a 1-1 tie.

Late in the second period, back-to-back goals in less than two minutes increased South Grenville’s lead to 4-1. Zach White (Medaglia) and Lochlan Brown (Medaglia) scored in the short blitz.

The third period saw the Rangers on the power play five times – the only power play opportunities in the game – but they came up against one of the best penalty kills in the NCJHL. The only goal scored by the Rangers was in the final six minutes by Webster (Cole Jelly), to top off a 5-1 win for South Grenville.

Twelve games into the season, the official one-third mark, the Rangers improve to a 10-2-0-0 record, 20 points, and are in a statistical tie in the standings with first place Gatineau Hull-Volant.

Gatineau previously beat South Grenville in head-to-head competition, giving the team sole posession of first place.

General Manager and Head Coach Lucas Stitt told The Leader, “The 23 young men in our dressing room believe in each other and what we’re building together.” Summarizing the first third of the season, Stitt said it has been nice to have success early in the season but continued improvement each game is important. “It’s a fun group to coach when they’re all committed to playing the game the right way,” Stitt explained. “Hockey is a team game and it takes many different roles and responsibilities to be successful.”

The Rangers will travel to Vankleek Hill to take on the Cougars November 19 and will host their Dundas rivals from Chesterville, the North Dundas Rockets on November 20 in Cardinal. Puck drop is at 2:50 p.m.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader