Topsy-turvy Weekend for Rangers

Parkland earns split with high-flying Thrashers

The Parkland Rangers made a large step forward on Sunday afternoon, rebounding from a disheartening 10-5 loss on Saturday night to dump the Winnipeg Thrashers by a score of 5-4. The win was the Rangers third in their past four games and vaulted them into eighth place in the MU18AAA standings at 7-9-3. As important as the result was, the response by the Rangers players after a disastrous Saturday night was the real story. Chase Glover kicked out 31 shots to earn the win while improved play in the neutral and defensive zones limited the number of grade ‘A’ chances the Thrashers generated. It was a marked difference from Saturday’s debacle that saw the home team surrender six goals in the middle frame with both Glover and Ethan Myhre staring down dozens of high quality opportunities.

Saturday night started with a bang for the Rangers as Cade Legaarden scored less than two minutes into the game. Ryder Gardner and Cam Sarna picked up assists on Legaarden’s 9th goal of the season. Seven minutes later the Thrashers levelled the scores, but Parkland quickly responded. Tavyn Boychuk and Landyn Garton scored goals just 34 seconds apart midway through the frame to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Cash Clarkson and Maddox Shindle combined to set up Boychuk’s goal while Sam Swanton made a beautiful stretch pass to send Garton in alone for his third of the campaign. The Thrashers clawed one back on the power play with just over 30 seconds left in the period, but Boychuk ripped home his second of the game and sixth of the season with just seven seconds left to send the teams to the dressing room with the home squad leading 4-2. The second period opened with a Thrashers goal just 38 seconds in and went downhill from there. In all, the guests scored six times in the frame to take an 8-4 lead into the third. It was 9-4 early in the third period when Hayden Seib stopped the bleeding with help from Miller and Legaarden. The Rangers were outshot 41-28 on the night and outscored 10-5 in a frustrating game.

Sunday dawned clear and cold in Dauphin and with a new day came a chance for immediate redemption for the Rangers. The squad looked sharp in warm-up with positive energy evident in the hustle and body language. The teams opened up the game at a quick pace that featured some intense physical play. Midway through the period the Thrashers capitalized on a power play to grab a 1-0 lead. They doubled that lead in three minutes later with another power play tally that left the Rangers at a crossroads. It took almost five minutes, but Legaarden provided the spark the Rangers needed when he tipped in a Clarkson shot to cut the deficit to 2-1. Shindle picked up the second assist on the power play tally. Despite being outshot 14-4 in the frame, the home team had turned up their ‘compete’ level as the period wore on and that trend continued in the middle frame. First, Shindle’s point shot took a deflection off a Thrasher’s stick and found the back of the net for a power play goal that evened the score. Ethan McMullan picked up the lone assist on Shindle’s third goal of the season. Midway through the frame, Quinten Fisk gave the Rangers their first lead of the game when he finished off a pretty pass from Boychuk on a shorthanded 2-on-1. Just two minutes later, McMullan turned a blocked shot into a slick outlet pass to Clarkson who went in alone and beat the Thrashers goaltender with a nifty deke. Parkland entered the final frame of the weekend with a 4-2 lead but the scriptwriters  were far from finished. A strange bounce early in the period found the net behind Glover and shifted the momentum back in the Thrashers direction. The guests pushed hard to find an equalizer and eventually found one when a shot deflected off the shaft of Shindle’s stick and through Glover’s pads to tie it at 4 and leave everything to play for. Both teams immediately pushed hard for a winner and Fisk would prove to be the hero on this occasion. After several gritty shifts full of puck battles and blocked shots in their own end, the Rangers turned the tables on the Thrashers and capitalized on an offensive zone faceoff. Fisk started the play by winning the draw to Ethan Carnegie, who played the puck back to Shindle. His quick shot was deflected by Fisk over the Thrasher goaltender’s shoulder and the Rangers had just 2:14 left to claim a key win. Parkland put together two minutes of text book shot blocking and defending to see out the game and earn an important two points.

Rangers Ramblings: Seib and McMullan will play their two ‘Best on Best Showcase’ games on Saturday night(8:00) and Sunday afternoon (12:00) this weekend at the Hockey For All Centre in Winnipeg. Games are available to stream on FloHockey… Seib, Legaarden and Clarkson sit tied atop the Rangers scoring list after this weekend’s games with 20 points through 19 games… Glover sits second in the league amongst goalies with 802 minutes played. His .894 save percentage is good for 11th in the league… Former Ranger Jayden Jubenvill has 10 points through 20 games with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL. Jubenvill will follow Ranger alum Riese Gaber’s footsteps to the University of North Dakota for next season… Gaber is serving as the captain of the Fighting Hawks this season and has 13 points in 14 games for UND… Ranger alum Riley McKay has put up 5 points in his first 9 American Hockey League games with the Laval Rocket… Mark Liwiski leads the East Coast Hockey Leagues Norfolk Admirals with 78 PIMs through 13 games… The Rangers next action is Saturday, December 9 when they hit the road to take on the explosive Winnipeg Bruins at Southdale Arena. They will get a Sunday rematch with the Thrashers at Gateway Arena to wrap up that trip…