Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rangers host Alpena on Saturday

The Marquette Rangers head to Alpena this Friday before playing the IceDiggers in a return engagement on Saturday at Lakeview Arena.

Saturday’s game begins at 7:30 p.m.

The series will be the final weekend of action for the Rangers before the North American Hockey League's annual holiday break.

Marquette sits solidly in third place in the NAHL North Division with 33 points (16-9-1) while Alpena is in fifth place, just one point behind the U.S. National Team Development Program.

“Every week it seems we’re talking about how important the next two games are,” said Rangers head coach Randy Enders. “As strange as that may seem, it’s true. We’ve started to see a little bit of separation in our division, but every weekend remains important because it won’t take much for things to get real close again. Every team in our division is capable of putting together a winning streak, so the more points we can collect the better.

“We realize it’s only December, but believe it or not, the playoffs will be here before we know it so we need to continue to play well, play smart and do the little things necessary to maintain the success we’ve had so far.”

With 12 wins, 18 losses and two overtime losses at this time a year ago, Enders sees that the Rangers have improved in their second year.

“Last season we were a new team," Enders said. "We had guys who had played at the junior level before, but never in this system, which made for some tough going in the first year.

“Now we have several veterans who were Rangers last year, so they know the league and they know what the expectations from our organization are. So in that sense, we’re much better off than we were at this time a year ago.”

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