ORLEANS-Junior Josh Thibault blasted in a goal off a pileup in front of the Danville net as the Rangers outlasted Danville 2-1 in a contest that took two overtime periods. The scoring play came after a barrage of Ranger shots on the outstanding Indian goalkeeper Kyle Johnson.
The Rangers, celebrating senior day, played the first half without the intensity head coach Tom Evans was looking for.
Evans said afterward, â€ťWe just didnâ€™t work as a team. There was a lot of individual play and I thought Danville took it to us in the first half.â€ť
The Indians came into the contest at 10-2. Despite being a Division Four team, Danville has played a division three and two schedule during the regular season and will be a big favorite when the postseason opens next week.
The second half belonged to the blue and white. The Rangers attacked off the wing. Anthony Wright drove hard down the right sideline and lofted a perfect cross to the waiting Alex Beaurgard. Beaurgard leaped into the air getting a piece of the checkered ball but Johnson snuffed the point blank shot.
Wright had two more setups but the Danville defense blocked both attempts.
With more space on the outside, the Ranger inside game began to show teeth.
Shaquile Urie made a great stop and go move and got off a low drive before hard working Billy Cashin let go a short side shot that just missed.
The Rangers had dominated the previous match with the Indians but fell 1-0.
With solid defenders Caleb Lanoue, Drew Gallup and Byron Burdick giving no quarter to Danville attackers, LRUHS continued to have a huge territorial edge. All were determined not top have a replay of the first match.
Josh Thibault made some sparkling moves advancing the ball into the opponents zone. The swift junior blasted a shot from the 18 before setting up Urie for another good scoring attempt. All the time Johnson stood tall in the Danville net. He kicked and punched out repeated Ranger volleys, keeping the game scoreless.
Finally, with just over 19 left in regulation, a hand ball was called against the Indians after another dose of Ranger firepower. Urie made no mistake crushing the ball into the upper right corner for a 1-0 Lake Region lead.
At the other end, junior goalkeeper Dennis Newland was strong when he had to be, punching out a pair of crosses and covering up in the goal crease. Newland was in several collisions during the match.
Teammate Drew Gallup took offense to one late contact play but cooler heads prevailed in the well-officiated game. With the temperature dropping fast, Newlandâ€™s slight injury tightened up. Assistant coach Jim Morin would say later, â€ťI knew he was a little banged up but he wanted to stay in, it finally was best to pull him.â€ť
The Rangers did just that with over eight minutes left on the game clock. Sophomore backup Logan Harper came in to finish up.
Danville got on the board minutes later off a corner kick as high scoring forward Eric Remick found the back of the cage, tying things up at 1 each.
On to the overtime both teams went and still the Rangers poured it on. Fullback Charlie Epinette had a pair of good rushes, senior midfielder Carl Oberg did the same as did Clint Provoncha and Jeremy Dean.
Into the second extra session and still the blue and white pounded the Danville goal.
Burdick unloaded an acrobatic side of the foot bullet from close range, and Urie fired a header on goal.
At long last, after repeated attempts, the talented Thibault ended the match, beating Johnson to the short side for the game winner.
The eruption of emotion was evident the Rangers piled on each other in joy as they triumphed on senior night in front of a large crowd. Lake region had dominated the last 50 minutes plus and had gotten their rightful conclusion and their 11th victory of the year.
Head Coach Tom Evans said afterward, â€śI wasnâ€™t happy with our first half but the second was much better. Their goalie Johnson was all world. We spread things out and got some scoring chances. We played as a team and kept the ball on the carpet. We have some things to work on but the effort was there in the second half and overtime and itâ€™s a good win.â€ť
The Rangers stand at 11-2 while Danville slips to 10-3. LRU out shot Danville 19-9, with Johnson stopping 18 shots. Newland and Harper combined for 8 saves. Lake Region concludes it regular season with Winooski on the road this evening and awaits the VPA playoff selection next week. LRUHS will host two playoff games as the number three seed in Division Two.