EASTLAKE—North coach Steve Misick isn’t exactly a riverboat gambler but he played all the right cards in a 2-2 draw with visiting Kenston at Nick Carter Stadium on Tuesday.
Misick moved senior Michael Thomas from his forward position to the midfield to create a better matchup for the Rangers’ offense. That moved paid off as Thomas scored two goals, including one with 4 minutes, 37 seconds left in the game to secure the tie.
“He’s our best scoring threat, without question,” Misick said of Thomas. “In the second half, we moved some things around because we know Kenston was a little slow in the back. We put Mason Robey forward to get behind them and that way it gave Michael Thomas more space in the midfield to make more decisions. Michael is a great forward but I think he’s more dangerous coming out of the midfield with the ball at his feet. If he can’t get through he’ll find somebody to give us a quality shot.”
The tie kept the Rangers in the hunt for the Western Reserve Conference championship.
Kenston is 2-0-1 in league play while the Rangers are 1-1-1.
“We had to have a result,” Misick said. “A loss puts us at 1-2 and they go to 3-0. We’re not going to catch them two games behind with four to play. With a tie, we’re only one game behind. They’re tied for first place. Mayfield was playing Brush (the Wildcats won 3-2), that was the other big game tonight, so we’re still within striking range.”
The Bombers led at halftime, 1-0, but Thomas quickly tied things up with his first of two second half goals.
Kenston added a second goal with just 7:48 left in the game but again Thomas came to the Rangers’ rescue.
He broke through the midfield, outran two Bomber defenders then beat the keeper with a perfectly placed shot into the upper right corner of the net.
“Honestly, I got lucky,” Thomas said. “I took the shot and didn’t think it was going in but it went in and we got the tie.”
Senior goalkeeper Dario Lukic recorded 12 saves, including several from point-blank range.
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