Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Marquette off to expansion Janesville

After a disappointing sweep at the hands of Traverse City last weekend, the Marquette Rangers will try and rebound this Friday and Saturday as they travel to take on the Janesville Jets in North American Hockey League North Division play.

The Rangers lead the Jets by six points in the division race. This weekend will mark the first ever games between the two franchises.

“They’re a new team, but not your typical expansion team,” Rangers head coach Kenny Miller remarked. “They’ve done a nice job as an organization of finding both quality newcomers, as well as some veteran guys from other teams in our league and others. They’re very well coached, so it will definitely be a challenge for our club.”

Miller also added that the two losses to Traverse City, although not good, may have been a wake-up call for his team as they head to Wisconsin.

“We got off to a good start this year, and sometimes that can work against you," he said. “We were challenged and didn’t respond the way we think we’re capable of, and our guys know this. Sometimes you need to be reminded that winning in our league isn’t easy. We got a full dose of that against T.C. last weekend. We’ve had a good week of practice, which shows me a lot about how our guys are responding, so we’re hopeful we’ll pick things up and move forward.”

NAHL expansion franchises generally don’t fair too well in their first season, but Janesville is off to a solid start as the Jets are 7-8-0 after 15 games and lead both Motor City and Alpena in the division. A familiar face will greet the Rangers, too, at the Janesville Arena as Michael Thompson, a Rangers defenseman from 2007-09, currently patrols the blue line for the Jets.

Janesville split two games with Alpena this past weekend winning 6-0 Friday before the IceDiggers turned the tabled with a 2-0 win Saturday evening.

Marquette continues to be led in scoring by Garrett Ladd (6g, 9a, 15 pts.) and Andrew Kolb (6g 8a, 14 pts.). Brent Bain (13 pts.) and Marquette native Collin Saint-Onge (11 pts.) are the other Rangers players in double-digit scoring on the season.

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