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Rangers have varied experience on opening weekend


It was two different opponents and two different outcomes for the Parkland Rangers as they opened the 2018-19 Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League season at home over the weekend.
The Rangers hosted the Brandon Wheat Kings at Credit Union Place Saturday, dropping a 6-0 decision.
The Wheat Kings recorded first period markers from Colin Cook, Drayson Collyer and Mitch Thiessen.
The Brandon squad added a second period goal from Deniz Ntelioglou before Cook added his second of the game and Nolan Wallace notched a power play marker in the third to round out the scoring.
Rangers netminder Zach Grouette was under siege facing 51 shots in 60 minutes of work while the Rangers managed just 13 shots on Brandon keeper Brad Letain.
“It was a tough start against a tough team,” said Rangers head coach Arnie Caplin.
“We’ve got a rookie-laden lineup with a lot of inexperienced guys and we learned what this league is gong to be like.”
The Rangers took those lessons into the next day and things were a little less lopsided Sunday afternoon, when they hosted the Norman Northstars. In the end the Rangers came out on the winning end of a 5-3 final.
“Today we had, obviously, an easier opponent, but they came at us hard. The first period was indicative of that,” Caplin said.
I thought we battled well and I like the way some guys stepped up today. We were down a couple of guys to start the game and one guy got tossed for a questionable check from behind. So, again, I thought we battled well and I am very happy with today’s effort.”
The Rangers opened the scoring midway through the opening frame when Hunter Glover scored an unassisted, short handed goal.
Jamie Valentino answered for the Northstars four minutes later to send the two teams into the first break knotted at one.
Isaiah Weedon restored the Parkland lead with the only goal of the second period and the home team took over in the final 20 minutes adding a pair of goals from DJ Taylor-Luke and an extra insurance marker from Jaegar Lapointe.
Richard Ducharme added a power play marker for the Northstars, but that was as close as the visitors could get.
Rangers goaltender Zach Grouette faced 43 shots in 60 minutes of work while Norman netminder Rylan Potkonjak turned aside 29 of the 34 shots he faced.
Coming out of the weekend with two very different experiences against two very different teams can only help to emphasize what Caplin wants the players to understand about AAA hockey.
“You are going to catch some of the better teams on off nights and you are going to catch some of the teams that are not as strong when they are playing better,” he said.
“So you are going to have to ready for anything. And again I was happy with the way things turned today, but we have a long ways to go.”