TEWKSBURY, MA -- The 2019-20 season is underway as both Rangers squads kicked off the year this past weekend at the Breakaway Ice Center. The EHL team held on for a 2-1 win in their opener against the Valley Jr. Warriors on Sunday. The EHLP squad also took care of business, earning victories over the Walpole Express and the New England Wolves.
On Sunday, the EHL team looked to start their season off on the right foot with a matchup against the Valley Jr. Warriors. It didn't take long for the Rangers to get on the board as Joey Schaefer notched the first goal of the young season just over two minutes into the contest, to make it 1-0. Brent Rickett found the back of the net a few minutes later, giving the Rangers a quick two-goal advantage.
After a scoreless 2nd period, the Warriors got on the board early in the 3rd to make it a 2-1 hockey game. However, Billy Girard came up big in the remaining minutes of the frame, stopping 12 shots in the period, and leading the Rangers to a 2-1 victory. Jake Mecrones, Nathan Young, Martin Pietraszek, and Jake Blackwell all collected an assist in the win.
On Saturday, the EHLP team kicked off their campaign with a matchup against the Walpole Express. After trailing 1-0 after the 1st period, Bailey Doust put the Rangers on the board with a goal at the 12:45 mark of the 2nd frame. After a scoreless rest of the period, the Rangers came out strong in the 3rd, as Johnny Malandruccolo scored a hat-trick in just under 19 minutes to lead the Rangers to a 5-1 win. The 2001-forward from Auburn, NY already has 5 goals in 2 games and was recently named EHLP Forward of the Week. Quinn Shepard had the other Rangers goal in the frame. Logan Palmer looked solid between the pipes in the opener, stopping 28 out of 29 shots that were sent his way.
On Sunday afternoon, the Rangers faced-off against last year's EHLP Champions, the New England Wolves, and got off to a fast start as Malandruccolo gave the Rangers the early lead on the power play. However, the Wolves answered back just 12 seconds later to knot up the game at one goal apiece. Matt McPherson gave the Rangers back the lead around the eight-minute mark of the frame and the Rangers took a 2-1 advantage into the 1st intermission.
The Wolves responded with a pair of goals early on in the 2nd period to go up 3-2, but defenseman Max Stephens converted with a shot from the point around the five-minute mark, to square the game up at 3-3. Shepard gave the Rangers the lead just a minute later which almost held up for the rest of the game, but the Wolves found the back of the net with just 13 seconds left in the third to send the game to overtime tied.
In overtime, it only took Malandruccolo 12 seconds to score and give the Rangers the extra point and the win. Palmer was busy in net, making 40 saves in the victory.
Both Rangers squads will get back to work tomorrow afternoon, with matchups on the road against the New Hampshire Avalanche. The EHLP game will start at 1:10pm, followed by the EHL game at 4:20pm.