Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rangers heading into a Blizzard this weekend

The Marquette Rangers hit the road this weekend for a three-game set against the Alexandria Blizzard of the North American Hockey League's Central Division Thursday through Saturday.

Following a pair of home wins against Motor City and a Saturday loss at Alpena, head coach Kenny Miller says he’s still pleased with where things are going for his hockey club.

“We’ve been great at home,” Miller said. “Now it’s a chance for us to hit the road, spend some time together as a team, and hopefully figure out why we start so slowly on the road. I didn’t think our effort Saturday was what it needed to be at Alpena, but this is a new week and a new chance for us to go work out some of the bugs and hopefully gets some points out of Alexandria.

“One of the nice things from this past weekend was the chance to get some of our veterans scoring goals and gaining some confidence in their play. Tie that in with some of our newcomers who are really starting to play well and I’m confident we’ll improve every week and become the hockey team I think we can be.”

Three veterans led the Rangers last weekend in 6-3 and 6-4 wins over Motor City, including a hat trick from Josh Bussell (pictured) and two-goal nights from both Mike Thompson and Garrett Ladd. Defenseman Ryan McGrath notched a five-point weekend on a goal and four assists on his way to being named NAHL North Division Player of The Week.

Alexandria comes into the weekend tied for the lead in the Central with the North Iowa Outlaws and is coming off a 5-4 win over the Albert Lea Thunder last Friday.

The Blizzard’s leading scorer so far is Jerry Freismuth (Grosse Pointe Woods), who has scored 22 points in 13 games. Freismuth is also one point behind Topeka’s Jordan George for the overall league scoring lead.

For Marquette, it’s been more of a balanced attack up front with James Gallagher, Bussell and Chad Pietila leading the offense. Following his performance against Motor City, McGrath is the team’s highest scoring defenseman with seven points on the season.

Miller says this weekend will go well for his club if one thing can improve.

“I’d like to see us get stronger in our own end and cut down on some of the mistakes we’ve been making in our half of the ice,” he added. “Offensively, we’re fine. We’re getting good production from our forwards and that will also improve once we shore-up things in our end.”

Photo by RJ Meyer/NAHL

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