Giannavola launches Rangers Hockey into next era

By on December 3, 2018

AJ Giannavola scored twice and added an assist as Spencerport began the coaching career of Ryan Ford with a 5-2 victory over Geneseo in the annual Craig Charron Classic held at the Gene Polisseni Center at RIT.

Giannavola netted the second and third Rangers goals and later sent a perfect backhand pass from behind the net into the slot for a waiting Jason Uebelacker for the fourth tally.

Ranger forward Luc Fedele began the scoring just 4:54 into the contest as his wrist shot hit the crossbar and deflected into the net after passes from Uebelacker and Alex Cappuccio.

Giannavola followed with his first at 9:28 of the opening period when he skated around the defense and went in alone before roofing his shot over the goaltender for a 2-0 lead.

He scored his second of the game on the power play 65 seconds later. After taking a pass from defenseman Mark Neu, his wrister snuck inside the right post to put the Rangers up 3-0 after the first period.

Geneseo got on the board two minutes into the second on a Jon Edmunds goal, but the Rangers regained their three-goal cushion at 10:05 on the Uebelacker tally.

The Lakers closed the gap to 4-2 late in the second and had some momentum heading into the third, but Spencerport defenseman Andrew Simoncelli had a key shot block while killing a penalty and was rewarded moments later when he put the rebound from a Joey Cuzzupoli shot into the upper left corner of the net at 10:22 of the third.

With Geneseo pressuring the Rangers net later in the final stanza, Spencerport defenseman AJ Hussar thwarted another scoring opportunity with a shot block.

Rangers goaltender Rachel Brase made 18 saves in net to earn the victory.

“New coaches, more responsibility,” Giannavola said. “We weren’t even really trying last year and if we lost we didn’t really care and it didn’t matter to us. Now it’s a whole different story.

“We already have half of our wins compared to last year.”

The Rangers won two games in 2017-18 and have a combined seven wins over the last three seasons.

“Feels great and I couldn’t be happier for the boys,” new Rangers head coach Ryan Ford said. “We put a lot of work into this, so this one feels great.” Ford played collegiate hockey for two seasons at Monroe Community College as they were building toward their 2012 national championship.

“Dominated the first and we got a little too high there and we got a little too low in the second,” Ford concluded. “I’m only two weeks into this, but I think the culture has changed and we’re on the right track here.”