Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rangers play in Alpena this weekend

Alone in second place, the Marquette Rangers head to Alpena this weekend hoping to distance themselves from the four teams beneath them in the North Division standings.

The Rangers and IceDiggers meet Friday and Saturday night at Northern Lights Arena - faceoff both evenings is 7:05 p.m.

St. Louis continues to lead the division at 26-6-1 with the Rangers, by virtue of their 5-4 shootout win at Traverse City this past Saturday, now in second place just one point ahead of Mahoning Valley.

“I think more than anything it shows how good our division is,” said Rangers head coach Randy Enders. “We know that no matter who’s on the schedule it’s going to be a tough night and that every point we can get out of the weekend is going to be crucial to where we wind up at the end of the year.

“As a coach, it’s a great situation to be in because our guys are forced to be focused every day on doing the things necessary to be successful hockey players.”

Marquette, at 20-11-2 on the season, is just shy of two months ahead of their inaugural win-loss pace of a year ago.

The Rangers didn’t win their 20th game in 2006-2007 until March 2, a 5-4 win at Mahoning Valley.

Enders added that this weekend with Alpena may be a bit more important for Marquette than usual, as the Rangers are currently just 3-5 on the year against the North’s fourth-place team.

“It’s a chance to get a fresh start” Enders said. “We’ve not had the success we’d like against those guys, but we’re gaining more confidence as a team and we approach each game and each weekend as a new opportunity. They play us tough, I expect them to, but if we respond and execute the way we’re capable of, I’m confident we can have a good weekend.”

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