Friday, March 09, 2007

Marquette continues to make progress

After a grueling first half of their inaugural season, the Marquette Rangers may have found their way. Going into Christmas break with an 11-19-2 record, the Rangers knew something had to change. After several roster and organizational changes, the Rangers were determined to get back on track and that’s what they’ve been doing since.

Gaining confidence during the Dec. 22 game that earned the Rangers bragging rights, they were able to successfully rally and put an end to Mahoning Valley’s 19-game unbeaten streak. Coming back from Christmas break was a large transition for many players and fans, as interim head coach Randy Enders took the bench and vowed to attempt changing the Rangers’ method of play, efforts and record. Since Enders took lead of the Rangers, the team has gone 10-10-2, improving their overall record to 21-29-4. Even though the Rangers have a long way to go, they have shown to be a strong competitor and playoff threat.

Hopefully the wins didn’t start too late in the season as the Rangers are now vying for a playoff position and chance at the Robertson Cup championship.

“The points are even more important now as playoff positioning unfolds," said Enders. "Our guys are prepared to come out and play hard, especially knowing what’s at stake."

Nick Kosinski and Brodie Zuk leading the Rangers’ scoring, and, combined with the newest addition to the Rangers, goaltender Beau Christian, the Rangers are building themselves a solid team with a strong defensive line, special teams and shooting. Out of the top 100 scoring leaders in the NAHL, six of them are Rangers.

The ice isn’t the only place the Rangers have been making waves though. Many Marquette and surrounding community members have had a chance to meet and work with the Rangers. The organization prides itself on volunteering and community efforts and have demonstrated that by collecting 640 pounds of food for the TV6 Can-A-Thon, collecting hats, mittens and scarves for the Women’s Shelter, volunteering monthly and for special events at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans, volunteering at the YMCA weekly, collecting toys and gifts for the children of deployed Upper Peninsula soldiers and working for the U.P. 200 Sled Dog Races. Most recently, the Rangers’ organization collected over $3000 for the local Pigs-N-Heat (police and fire fighters) relief fund.

The Rangers launch an eight-game home series next Thursday that will wrap up the regular season April 1. Events and activities are being planned such as St. Patrick’s Day celebrations March 17, parents and billet families being honored the weekend of March 23 and an array of events for the whole family continuing thru the final game.

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