TEWKSBURY, MA -- The hot and cold 2nd half continued for the both Rangers teams this past week. The Premier team dropped a pair of close contests to the Boston Bandits and Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, while the Elite team was able to split their 4 matchups.
"Despite the results, our teams continue to grow," said Premier head coach Rich DeCaprio. "For the Premier team, the off and on 2nd half has been frustrating. When we look back at the scores, 5 of our 7 losses since MLK Day have been by two goals or less. Flip over to the Elite, and the pattern is very similar."
For the Premier team this past week began with a rematch against the Bandits, and then a showdown with the Jr. Flyers.
WEDNESDAY 2/15 - The matchup with the Bandits started well for the Rangers, as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead, just under 8 minutes into the game. The next 4 goals however swung the score the other direction, and despite a late tally from Kyle Galloway, it was too little to late for the Rangers. The Rangers saw 3 different players tally a goal, and Nolan Egbert stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced in a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Bandits.
SATURDAY 2/18 - After a couple days of practice, the Rangers welcomed one of the top teams in the EHL to town on Saturday night. The Jr. Flyers came rolling into this one having won 9 straight games, and playing their best hockey of the season.
This game was a goalie duel as Sean Kuhn made 50 saves for the Rangers and Mac Vail stopped 30 shots for Philadelphia. Unfortunately for the Rangers, Tommy Dougherty scored the only goal of the game, just about halfway through the 2nd period. The Game of the Week lived up to the hype, as Philadelphia stretched its winning streak to 10 games with a big 1-0 victory on the road.
For the Elite team, this past week featured two times the action, as they hit the ice for 4 games in 6 days.
WEDNESDAY 2/15 - Just like the Premier team, the Elite team's week kicked off with the Bandits on Wednesday. Four days prior to this matchup, the Rangers had knocked off the Bandits 5-4 in overtime. It was the road team turning the tables this time around however, as the Bandits got goals in the 1st and 3rd periods to offset the Rangers only tally in the 2nd period. Ben Parker kept his team in the game with 31 saves on 33 shots, but it wasn't enough as the Bandits picked up a 2-1 road victory.
SATURDAY 2/18 - Flip over to the weekend, and Elite team pulled through with a big victory over the Jr. Flyers on Saturday night. Prior to the Premier team losing 1-0, Bryan O'Toole stood on his head for the Elite team. O'Toole stopped 25 of 25 and led the Elite team to victory over Philadelphia. Kyle Welch had the lone goal of the game.
SUNDAY 2/19 - A day later and the 3rd matchup of the week brought a much more wide open affair. Led by Pat Bowe's pair of goals and pair of assists, the Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back on the way to a 6-1 victory over the Valley Jr. Warriors.
MONDAY 2/20 - The 4th and final game of the week brought with it the challenge of physical fatigue, and this became clear in the middle of the matchup with the Walpole Express. After taking the lead just over the midway point of the 2nd period, the Rangers appeared to have control of the game. Control quickly slipped away for the Rangers. Three unanswered goals for Walpole paved the way for the 4-3 victory at home, the first win for the Express over the Rangers this season.