Thursday, January 07, 2010

Rangers head downstate this weekend

A solid B+.

That’s the grade Marquette Rangers head coach Kenny Miller gave his club as he looked back on the first half of the North American Hockey League season.

The Rangers begin the second half of their schedule this weekend on the road at Yack Arena in downstate Wyandotte against the Motor City Metal Jackets.

“We’ve been solid,” Miller said as the team was prepping for the trip to suburban Detroit.

“We’ve played well enough to be in the hunt for the top spot in our division, we’ve overcome a few rough patches here and there, and we’re starting to get the leadership we need from our older guys to make a solid run during the second half of the season.”

Although confident in his teams’ ability, Miller was hesitant to talk about any possible success in the months to come due to the nature of the team's schedule.

“We need to come prepared every night, and we’ve struggled with that from time-to-time," said Miller. "Our division is too tough from top to bottom to think we’re ever going to get a night off, so if we’re mentally prepared and ready to work hard, I like possibilities for this team. If not, a lot of goals and hard work could go to waste.”

Marquette sits in second place in the North Division, tied with the Janesville Jets, and four points behind first-place Traverse City. Janesville plays St. Louis of the South Division this weekend.

Marquette is 3-1 against Motor City so far this year with two of those wins coming in Wyandotte back in early October.

The Rangers continue to be led in scoring by a mix of veterans and newcomers, with Andrew Kolb (14g, 19a) and captain Garrett Ladd (12g, 21a) leading the charge with 33 points apiece. In total, 11 Rangers players are in double-digit scoring after 31 games.

With 19 wins, the Rangers are seven victories shy of the team record of 26 set in both 2007-08 and 2008-09.

“We have a long way to go,” Miller added. “But we’re very satisfied with how things have been going so far and we’re looking forward to the second-half of the season.”

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