The Parkland Rangers kicked off the 2023-24 Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League schedule on Friday night at Credit Union Place in Dauphin with a narrow 3-2 loss to the Yellowhead Chiefs. Chase Glover's 29 saves weren't enough as Yellowhead rode a dominating second period to the win over the hometown squad. Ethan Carnegie and Andrew Pidskalny bulged the twine for the Rangers, who fired 25 shots at Chiefs netminder Kieran Madill.
The Rangers jumped out to a quick start in the game firing the first 4 shots on goal, but Bo Tibbatts got loose off a faceoff and beat Glover over the shoulder. Carnegie's goal came on a breakaway less than two minutes later when he took a feed from Hayden Seib and beat Madill high to the glove side. The Rangers started the second period short-handed and the Chiefs used the powerplay to generate some momentum. Glover kept things even with a magnificent save on a Rory Poole breakaway, but could do little about the second Chiefs goal. Poole got his revenge when he cashed in on a broken play and batted a bouncing puck past Glover. The period wasn't kind to the Rangers who were outshot 15-5 and left staring at a 2-1 deficit heading to the final frame. Nolan Kozak extended the Chiefs lead in the opening minute of the third, swatting a puck out of mid-air and into the top corner over Glover's shoulder. It was a nifty bit of athleticism that created a massive hole for Parkland. A determined Pidskalny shifted the momentum less than a minute later on a tour de force shift that ended with his first goal of the season. The goal galvanized the Rangers who made a spirited push to try and level the score. Carnegie came closest as he was robbed by Madill in the final two minutes after some slick work by Cam Sarna. Despite generating 11 shots on goal in the third period, the Rangers were unable to find the equalizer.
Rangers Ramblings: Sam Swanton was named captain of the club prior to the game... Alex Campbell picked up an assist on Pidskalny's goal for a point in his first career U18 game... Tavyn Boychuk, Cade Legaarden and Swanton all saw their first game action of the season after missing out on the pre-season tournament in Souris... Brandon resident Ethan MacMullan made his debut with the Rangers and displayed his intelligence and skill on the back end... Next action for the Rangers comes on Saturday, October 7 when they host the Eastman Selects at 7:30 pm at Credit Union Place in Dauphin.