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Wednesday, February 18
Rangers finish sixth, face Thrashers in quarterfinals


By Doug Zywina,  Herald Reporter

The Parkland Rangers finished the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League season in sixth place after winning just one of three home games this past weekend.

The Rangers opened the weekend with a 5-4 win over the Southwest Cougars, Friday.

The Rangers trailed 4-2 midway through the game, but battled back to pick up the win.

Joshua Tripp scored twice, with singles coming from Tyler Derkach, Connor Dewar and Matthew Greening. Jonathon Faktor made 20 saves to earn the win.

Brett Opperman with two, Keaton Jameson and Montana Masson replied for the Cougars. Rylan Rommelaere made 42 saves in the loss.

On Saturday, Mark Klassen snapped a 3-3 tie with 6:48 remaining in the third period to lift the Pembina Valley Hawks to a 4-3 win, clinching fifth place in the process. Parkland would have had to beat the Hawks, Saturday and Sunday to move into fifth.

Michael Wirth, Bennett Dalke and Tyson McConnell had the other Pembina Valley goals, while Travis Klassen made 30 saves to pick up the win.

Dewar with two and Daniel Chartrand scored for the Rangers. Brett Evans took the loss, stopping 23 shots.

On Sunday, Ty Enns scored the winner in a shootout to give the Hawks a 6-5 come-from-behind win.

The Rangers held a 5-3 lead four minutes into the third, but the Hawks scored a pair of late power-play goals to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Dalke with two, Klassen, Logan Christensen and William Lovell scored for Pembina Valley. Aaron Brunn made 33 saves for the win.

Riley McKay scored twice to lead the Rangers. Derkach, Dewar and Riese Gaber added singles. Evans made 33 saves in the loss.

Rangers head coach Doug Hedley felt his team deserved better in both games against the Hawks, stating the Rangers out chanced and out played Pembina Valley.

“At the same time, you’ve got to give them credit. They found a way to get a goal in the third period (Saturday). I was very happy with our game. Guys played well throughout the lineup, considering we were a little bit short up front,” he said.

Sunday’s game was much the same.

“(Sunday) I thought we were outstanding. I really did think our speed was good, moving the puck real well. And considering Matty (Greening) was out of the lineup, the backend played well, the five guys that were there. It’s just a matter of bearing down at the right times,” Hedley said.

Penalties hurt the Rangers, Sunday as Pembina Valley scored four times on the power play.

“Taking a penalty in the offensive zone with five minutes left, number one. And we had opportunities to kill that penalty. Then the last penalty call was very subjective, I guess you’d say. But we still have to kill penalties and block shots,” Hedley said.

“When you get opportunities to get pucks down, you’ve just got to have the patience to get it down. We got caught, a couple of guys fell down and all of a sudden the puck is in the net, tie game.”

The Rangers ended the season, Monday, when they hosted the Winnipeg Wild in Grandview, losing 9-2. They finish with a record of 24-17-0-3.

The Rangers will now face the third-place Winnipeg Thrashers. The two teams split the season series, with the Rangers out scoring Winnipeg 18-16. Hedley said his team will have to make sure they do the little things well.

Hedley noted the Rangers won 13 games on the road this year.

“It’s just a matter of us getting in there and making sure we’re focused,” he said.

The playoffs will not begin until March 2, due to the Canada Winter Games. Team Manitoba is made up primarily of players from the league, including Dewar and defenceman Tyler Jubenvill from the Rangers.

The focus until then will be some team-building activities, as well as some good practices.

The time off will also give some players a chance to get healthy. Although Braydee Prokopchuk is not expected back with a broken collar bone, Hedley hopes the news will be better in regards to forward Chad Kilimnik, who has a shoulder injury.

“It’s possible he could be doing rehab next week, so he should be back in a couple (of weeks),” he said.

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