TEWKSBURY, MA -- We've reached the final week of the regular season, and both the Premier and Elite teams know exactly what's in front of them. For the Premier team the final week begins with them in control of the #3 seed in the North Conference. On the other hand, the Elite team starts the week just one point out of the final playoff spot in their respective North Conference.
"The message is clear for both teams," said Rangers Premier head coach Rich DeCaprio. "The Premier team needs to secure the #3 seed, and the Elite team needs to move into the playoff picture. There are no excuses at this time of year, and each one of our teams has a great opportunity in front of them."
Our preview begins with the Premier team that is set to face-off with the Northern Cyclones on Wednesday, and the East Coast Wizards on Sunday. With two games left, the Rangers can't catch the teams in front of them in the standings (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and Valley Jr. Warriors), but one team can move past them. Looking over their shoulder, the Cyclones are the only team with a chance to overtake the Rangers, largely due to their game in hand. Entering tomorrow's matchup the season series is even with each team having tallied four points in the three games to date. The conclusion, if the Rangers win tomorrow then the #3 seed is theirs, and if they lose they still have a shot at the #3 seed, but they have therefore lost control of their destiny.
Flip over to the 19U Elite Division, and the Rangers Elite team is dealing with a much different animal this week. The week begins with the Rangers just a single point behind the Walpole Express for the 6th and final playoff spot in the North Conference. The Rangers do however have two games in hand on the Express, as well as an outside chance of passing both the New England Wolves and Valley Jr. Warriors.
The odds of passing those teams are a lot less likely, and the moral of the week is that the Rangers have six possible points remaining in front of them, while the Express only have a shot at two points. The Rangers travel for all three of their games, taking on the Wolves tonight, Wolfpack on Friday, and Warriors on Saturday.