Rangers reach .500 at expense of Thistles
The Parkland Rangers rode a red hot offense to claim both ends of a weekend doubleheader against the Kenora Thistles in Dauphin this weekend. The hosts dumped the Thistles 5-3 on Saturday night and followed that gritty performance up with a big 8-4 win on Sunday to move back into a playoff position after 10 games of MU18AAA action.
Kenora hopped on the bus Saturday morning to make the 535 km journey to Dauphin for a key matchup for themselves and their Parkland hosts. The Thistles entered the weekend at 0-7-2 and seeking an elusive first win. Parkland was aiming to establish their first winning streak of the season after last Sunday’s 10-1 mauling of a tough Norman North Stars squad. Despite the long journey, the Thistles shook off their bus legs and jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead as Cole Bodnar snapped a centring pass by Rangers goaltender Chase Glover. The deficit lasted just over a minute though with Cash Clarkson ripping home his first of two goals on the night. Clarkson’s second came only three minutes later to stake the home team to a 2-1 lead midway through the frame. Kenora refused to roll over and Bo Gartzke was the beneficiary of a bizarre own-goal by the Rangers that sent the team’s to their respective dressing rooms level at two apiece. The red-hot Hayden Seib would restore the Rangers lead just over five minutes into the second frame and Parkland looked to lock it down in the third period. An early penalty gave the Thistles some life and Carter Peters cashed in to level the scores at three. It stayed that way for the next five minutes until Ethan McMullan scored from Landyn Garton to push Parkland into their third lead of the game. This lead didn’t get away from the hosts as captain Sam Swanton ripped a point shot through traffic for his first of the season. Glover was sharp the remaining eight minutes to secure the two points for the Rangers. Glover finished with 33 saves on the night in earning his third win of the campaign and the Rangers offense was led by Seib (1-2-3), Clarkson (2-0-2) and Swanton (1-1-2). Quinten Fisk, Cade Legaarden and Nathan Miller all had an assist in the win.
Sunday was a different game entirely as the Rangers came flying out of the gate and grabbed an early 1-0 lead thanks to Clarkson’s even strength tally. The quick start was undone by a Jack Noel goal that sent the teams to the first intermission tied up. The middle frame proved to be the key to victory for the home team as Parkland fired five goals past the Kenora goaltenders to build a 6-1 lead. Goals from Tavyn Boychuk and singles by Legaarden, Swanton and Clarkson chased Thistles starter James Hill. Boychuk notched his second of the game before the period ended to put the Rangers in the driver seat. The third period included Parkland goals from Ryzlie Nepinak and Alex Campbell, while Kenora scored three consolation goals to make the score an 8-4 final for the Rangers. Ethan Myhre made 22 saves to earn his first MU18AAA victory in his third start. Swanton capped off a big weekend with a goal and a pair of helpers, and several other Rangers had multi-point games including Legaarden (1-3-4), Linden Smigelsky (0-2-2), Seib (0-2-2), Clarkson (2-1-3) and Boychuk (2-0-2). Ethan McMullan, Andrew Pidskalny and Ryder Gardner had single assists.
Rangers Ramblings: Parkland evened their record at 4-4-2 with the wins over the Thistles… The Rangers were without Maddox Shindle this weekend due to injury while Cam Sarna sat out Sunday’s game due to illness… Layne Wolfenden (DRCSS Clippers) and Noah Smigelsky (Parkland Rangers U15 AAA) were AP’ed and played solid games in their first action of the season… Hayden Seib’s recent hot streak has him sitting in 6th place in the MU18AAA scoring race with 4-11-15 in 10 games… Cash Clarkson’s 8 goals have him tied for second in that category league-wide, while Seib is tied for the league lead in assists… Cade Legaarden is 12th in league scoring with 12 points through 10 games… Chase Glover sits 3rd in minutes played among goalies with 465… The Southwest Cougars are the hottest in the MU18AAA league, currently riding a 10 game winning streak… The Brandon Wheat Kings are right behind on a 9 game heater… the Rangers have four tough games over the next two weeks as they host the defending champion Winnipeg Wild before hitting the road to Morden to play a pair against the stingy Pembina Valley Hawks… the games in Morden kick off a key five game stretch on the road for the Rangers…