Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rangers host Traverse City this weekend

The Marquette Rangers concludes their seven-game homestand this weekend by battling arch-rival Traverse City Friday and Saturday night at Lakeview Arena.

The Rangers (20-21-6, 46 pts.) are coming off a three-game set with the North American Hockey League North Division leaders Mahoning Valley, going 1-2 against the Phantoms last Thursday-Saturday.

The North Stars were shocked by cellar-dwelling Motor City last weekend in downstate Wyandotte in being swept by the Machine by scores of 3-2 and 2-1. With the two losses, Traverse City (25-12-6, 56 pts.) lost valuable ground in the race for first place in the division with Mahoning Valley and now trails the Phantoms by eight points with six weeks remaining in the regular season.

The two games this weekend will also go towards settling the race for the Smith Barney Challenge Cup series played annually by the two organizations.

Traverse City leads the series 10 points to eight on the season with five games remaining between the two teams this season. Four of those five remaining games will be played at Lakeview. Points in the series are determined the same way points are determined in standard NAHL play: two points for a win, a single point for an overtime loss and no points for a loss.

Chad Pietila and James Gallagher continue to lead the Rangers in goal production this season with 18 goals apiece, with Peitila leading all scorers with 43 points. Four Rangers, Pietila, Gallagher, Aaron Pietila and Garrett Ladd, are now over the 35-point level on the season following last weekend.

The North Stars are led in scoring by Kyle Bonis’ 46 points on the season (22g, 24a) with Nathan Urbaniak and Kyle Jean in second and third place, respectively.

Faceoff both nights is at 7:30 p.m.

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