|Netminder Scott Dickie recipient
of Jeff Larmer Award
has continually worked to acknowledge the efforts and accomplishments of
former Rangers while in the OHL. Many players, the Trevor Gallants,
the David Lattas, and Mike Torchias often are left forgotten because they
were not able to excel at the pro level, specifically the NHL. RangersRush.com
would like to take time out to acknowledge one such Ranger who's name might
have been lost inbetween high-profile grads such as: Brian Bellow, Al MacInnis,
and Scott Stevens in 1982. Jeff Larmer who spent a small part of
his final junior season with the Colorado Rockies of the NHL, was perhaps
the most deadly Rangers' playoff scorer of all-time. His track record
in three seasons with the Rangers was phenominal, the first season they
failed to qualify for the postseason, he posted combined point totals of
33-30-63 in only 31 games during the final two years. Jeff Larmer
participated in two Rangers OHL championship teams as well as their only
Memorial Cup championship team in 1982. During the 1982 championship
run, Larmer played in 15 games, scoring an astonishing 21 goals (Corey
Locke 2003 top scorer, turned on the red light 19 times in 23 games).
It was a hard choice for RangersRush to make, naming a playoff MVP with such a balanced team to chose from . In the end our decision was primarily based on the events of the third round, where the Rangers appeared to have meet their match in the Plymouth Whalers. In game one of the series the Rangers were completely outclassed and looked very unprepared to play against a team the calibre of the Whalers, Dickie kept the game very respectful, and even granted a shell-shocked Rangers' team the opportunity to tie the game in the third with his sensational play. The Rangers fell short of the goal in that game, however made adjustments in the series to counter the Whaler attack, to play at the same level and intensity as the Whalers did, the difference in the series appeared to be between the pipes where Dickie shone throughout the series. In a battle of overage netminders from rounds 1-3, Scott Dickie outdueled some extremely tough competition, Sault Ste. Marie's: Adam Munro, Guelph's: Andrew Penner, and finally Plymouth's Paul Drew. In the extremely intense seven game series with the Whalers, an incredibly close matchup, the veteran netminder appeared to be the only upperhand the Rangers had, except perhaps home advantage.
In the first round Dickie wowed spectators in Kitchener by shutting out the Greyhounds in their only two visits to the Auditorium, by 3-0 and 4-0 scores. In addition to the shutouts, as he was all season long, Scott Dickie often spearheaded the Rangers' offensive attack from just outside his crease. He accumulated 2 assists in his 21 games, the second of those assists coming on an insurance goal during the final game of the playoffs where the Rangers secured the OHL championship. The Rangers team up front, seemed to always have a contingency plan. If the Roy line was not scoring, the Richards line would pick up the slack. In goal the Rangers had a consistent, excellent effort and therefore did not need the services of rookie netminder: Carlo DiRienzo.
16 wins, and 6 loses were a far cry from where Scott Dickie started the season, he was part of a three-goalie carousel with DiRienzo and Harpwood. The Rangers were shutout 5-0 in their home opener, Dickie absorbed 4 of those goals before being pulled in favour of the rookie: Carlo DiRienzo. In the weeks leading up to the trade deadline with the team starting to look like serious contender material, there was speculation that the Rangers might opt for a more experienced playoff netminder. Sure Dickie had regular season experience but being winless in the postseason most certainly wasn't going to win over any critics. The trading deadline came and went and Dickie was still there, he also had some terrific relief performances down the stretch. In this final three relief appearances of the season he allowed no goals in 5 periods, twice being the goalie of record when the Rangers came from behind to win, in the other matchup a Rangers' comeback fell just short in Brampton.
Several other Rangers could have been considered
for playoff MVP status. Derek Roy was clearly the most dominant player
on either team in the 5 game final with Ottawa. He drew at least
a couple of standing ovations for his work on the penalty kill, Roy's work
in the offensive zone was equally as lethal. He seemed to own the
67's zone while on the ice, and had the stamina of the Energizer Bunny
double shifting centering both Clarkson and Campbell, the generally accepted
first unit, as well as: McGrath and Martynowski, the third forward line.
Despite all of his ice time, Roy seemed fresh just about every time he
hit the ice. Roy tallied a team leading 32 points (9-23) in 21 postseason
games. Peter Kanko and Michael Richards each had 27 points and could
be considered MVP candidate material as well. Kanko played in a game
and a half less than the remainder of the Rangers because ofa a game misconduct
and one game suspension, Kanko's clutch hattrick during game 6 in Plymouth
helped the Rangers stave off elimination, leading the team back to home
ice where they were able to oust the Whalers 3-1 in game 7 of the series.
Honorable mention goes to George Halkidis who did a tremendous job filling
in for Marcus Smith in his absense during the series against the Whalers,
Halkidis led the OHL in playoff plus-minus with a +22, and his only goal
turned out to be the winner in the Rangers' only multiple overtime game.