Thursday, January 08, 2009

Marquette off to Traverse City this weekend

Following an emotional split with Alpena last weekend, the Marquette Rangers travel to Traverse City this Friday and Saturday to battle the North Stars in North American Hockey League action.

Traverse City currently sits in second place in the NAHL North Division with a record of 17-7-5 (39 points), while the Rangers go into the weekend in fourth place with 36 points and a record of 16-15-4.

Marquette is 3-1 against the North Stars so far this season and leads in the two teams’ Smith Barney Challenge Cup series six points to four. The Challenge Cup standings are based on the same point system the NAHL is based on: Two points for a win, one point for an overtime loss and no wins for a loss in regulation. Two of Marquette’s wins this year were in overtime.

“Obviously we want to take some of the momentum from Saturday’s overtime win,” said Rangers head coach Kenny Miller. “Somehow, we need to find a way to be more consistent for a full 60 minutes. We’ve been hit-and-miss lately, which is a concern for us going into their place this weekend.

“Traverse City is a very good team, so we need to be ready to go from the opening face-off this entire weekend. If we can do that and play the way we’re capable this weekend, I think good things can happen for our club.”

The record against the North Stars this season wasn’t lost on the head coach either.

“We’ve proven we can play well against them in our four games so far this season," added Miller. "I think that can transfer into some confidence for our players going into this weekend as well.”

Chad Pietilla continues to lead the Rangers in scoring this season, with his cousin, Aaron Pietilla, and James Gallagher (pictured) a close second. Chad Pietilla’s two goals against Alpena last Saturday night gives him 16 on the season to go along with 19 assists for 35 points on the year. Gallagher, who scored the game winner in overtime Saturday, now has 30 points on 12 goals and 18 assists - numbers matched by Aaron Pietilla.

The North Stars are led by Kyle Bonis’ 32 points on 14 goals and 18 assists. Kyle Jean is second in T.C. scoring with 23 points (12g 11a).

Photo courtesy NAHL

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