TEWKSBURY, MA -- There is a mutual feeling across the hockey world that the off-season months always seem to move along at a slower pace compared to the playing months. For the Rangers, and the EHL and EHLP, this feeling holds true as the five-month off-season always seems much longer than the seven-month hockey season. Well the light is at the end of the tunnel, and the Rangers are set to return to action in one month.
"We are excited to get the season started," said Rangers EHL head coach and general manager Rich DeCaprio. "We have a good core of returners as well as some new faces coming in that we are excited about. We expect to be very competitive in our divisions as well as in both leagues."
For the Rangers' EHL team, the 2017-18 season brings with it a chance to build off of one of the best years in franchise history. The 2016-17 Rangers finished the regular season with a record of 28-17-3, and their 59 points locked them in as the #3 seed in the North Conference. An intense three-game series eventually went in the Rangers favor as they eliminated the Vermont Lumberjacks in the first round of the EHL playoffs.
The EHL Quarterfinals didn't end the same way for the Rangers as they ran into a hot team in the New Jersey Rockets. The Rockets swept the Rangers with a pair of victories in Tewksbury, but the Rangers still had a lot to be proud of when all was said and done. Led by a pair of league-leading scorers in Mike McPherson and Johnny Andrews, the Rangers won a phenomenal 30 games last season, and have now set the bar high for the future of the top squad.
For the Rangers' EHLP team the 2016-17 regular season ended with the team sneaking their way into the playoffs, owning a record of 22-15-5. The Rangers' 49 points may have earned them the final spot, but that was quickly forgotten as the team made some serious noise at the North Conference Round Robin. At many times they found themselves with their backs against the wall, but through great perseverance, the Rangers won the North Conference and earned their ticket to the EHLP finals.
Similar to the top squad, the next phase of the playoffs didn't go as well as the round robin did. Despite being swept in the EHLP Finals the Rangers still had a lot to be proud of with regards to their 2016-17 season. Both games against the Philadelphia Revolution were decided by a single goal, with Game #1 of the EHLP Finals going to overtime. When it comes to determining a champion, a pair of tight contests is exactly how you want it to be.
Shifting gears towards this year, the Rangers' EHL team will be bringing back a strong core of players from the entire organization. The 11 returners/veterans will be looked up to by members from both teams, as the Rangers look to build off of a strong 2016-17 season.
For the EHL team, a new year will begin on the road as they travel to Hooksett to face-off with the New Hampshire Avalanche on September 17th.
The EHLP squad will also kick things off on the road, September 24th in Walpole against the Express.
As we gear up for a new season, be sure to follow the Rangers on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), and watch every game live through HockeyTV.