Friday, February 16, 2007

Rangers drive forward, Bobcats on tap

The Marquette Rangers host the Bismarck Bobcats tonight and Saturday night, facing off at 7 p.m. both nights, but the Bobcats aren’t the only group the Rangers are welcoming.

Northern Michigan University students are being appreciated at Lakeview Arena throughout the weekend with NMU Student Weekend. With proper student ID and a valid driver's license, students receive a free alcohol wristband for admission into the beer gardens and free drinks with the purchase of a pre-paid drink card.

The Rangers have won eight of their last 15 games, improving their overall record to 19-24-4.

“We’re not happy about getting only one win last weekend, but the way the guys rallied on Sunday to win was very encouraging," said Marquette head coach Randy Enders. "We were fighting to keep ahead of Traverse City, so the guys knew it was a huge game. Although the game was filled with penalties and lacked a lot of flow, our guys worked through all of it and were able to pull out a win. Between Nic Weight’s hat trick, Beau Christian shutting the door the last two periods, Nick Kosinski and Chris Smith each adding two goals and just a combined overall team effort, we pulled off a great win over a big rival.”

The Rangers' busy stretch of six games in nine days continued Wednesday as they traveled to Alpena.

“It was a big divisional game against a league-leading team," noted Enders. "We know them well and know what we need to do against them to be successful. Playing Alpena is a matter of going out and executing our plans and limiting their opportunities. We were able to get goals from five different players, (Jake Hauswirth, Will Such and Neeco Belanger each had one, James Gallagher and Jason Cohen each scored two) and get them early. Combined with the great game from Beau, we were able to go into their rink and take two points. We now immediately turn our focus to this weekend where we have a big series with Bismarck.”

Looking ahead to this weekend, the Rangers haven’t played Bismarck since October. Although Bismarck is not part of the NAHL’s North Division, there are still points at stake.

“We are in a fight for third in our division and every weekend is important," Enders said. "Our guys are prepared to come out and play hard in front of the growing hometown support at Lakeview."

Weight earned the NAHL Sherwood Player of the Week from his six-goal weekend. Kosinski not only took over as the Rangers leading scorer with 43 points in 46 games, but he’s currently ranked 23 out of over 500 players in the NAHL. Brodie Zuk barely trails as 26th in the league with 42 points in 43 games played. Belanger has amassed 38 points, while Weight has tallied 30 and Hauswirth 28.

Sunday, 18 Rangers will be bundling up as they volunteer for the U.P. 200 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. Rangers will be responsible for three roadblocks off of M-28 at Kawbawgam, Casino and Chocolay Downs Roads. The public is encouraged to stop by and say hello as they cheer on the sled dog racers.

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