Rangers top Orange 4-3 in key divisional battle
Facing the league-leading Orange Lions, the Lakewood Rangers handed the Lions their first league loss 4-3 in a crucial divisional battle Friday night at The Pond. Both teams were missing players out of their lineups, but the Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 first period lead and never trailed the Lions in the contest.
The evening started out on an ominous note as the Ranger team bus broke down on the way to the game, and by the time a replacement bus delivered the icers to the rink, the game started 40 minutes late.
Freshman Jay Schmoldt put the Rangers on the board first notching a goal at the 7:03 mark of the first period.
Fellow freshman Jude Johnson extended the lead to 2-0 scoring at the 8:30 mark of the second, But, the Lions responded a minute later and closed the gap to 2-1. Lakewood’s Alex Blinky tallied his first of two evening goals to extend the lead to 3-1 a minute later and the Rangers carried a 3-1 lead into the dressing room after two periods.
Blinky scored his second of the night 1 and 1/2 minutes into the third – but the Lions countered only 11 second later. Orange added a goal with 4:35 left in the game to bring the score to 4-3 but the Rangers held on for the victory. Rob Holden stopped 26 shots en route to the win.
The win brought the Lakewood squad even with the Lions in wins in the division, but Orange has a game in hand heading into the second half of the season.
The victory raised the team’s record to 9-4 on the season with a 4-2 conference mark.
Lakewood and Orange will meet again on Sunday as they both are part of the CVCA Christmas Tournament which will be held at the Kent State University Ice Arena.
The rangers will not play a divisional game until a January 11th contest against Brooklyn back in the friendly confines of Serpentini Arena. But, following the tournament, The Rangers will host Avon Lake in a non-conference game on Saturday January 4th with the opening faceoff at 7pm.