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Tough losses for Parkland Rangers


The Parkland Rangers earned a much-needed point over the weekend, but that was all they could get against one of the top teams in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League.
Fans in Swan River had a chance to see the Rangers host the Winnipeg Wild, Saturday and Sunday.
Eric Fawkes scored his second goal of the game with 1:33 left in overtime to lift the Wild to a 3-2 win, Saturday.
On Sunday, Zachary Falck scored three times to lead the Wild to a 5-2 win.
Rangers coach Brad Dupasquier said both games were likely the best the Rangers have played this season in terms of structure and compete level.
“I was very happy with it,” he said.
Fawkes’ winner came six seconds after the Rangers had killed off a two-man advantage for the Wild and was the result of a bad line change.
“Upon our killers coming off and our new guys coming on, it kind of got discombobulated there and they got a shot on goal from the top of the circle that, likely, Rory Campbell wants back. We had a discussion about it, but he had a very strong game,” Dupasquier said.
The penalty kill has been one of Parkland’s strengths since the new year, killing off 16 of 19 opportunities, including 14 of 16 in the last three games, all against the Wild.
Parkland’s record falls to 12-19-1-2 for 27 points, good for 10th place, six behind the eighth place Southwest Cougars.
Dupasquier noted the Rangers have a favourable schedule the rest of the way, with three games against Southwest and three against the Pembina Valley Hawks. Only two games are against teams in the top four spots in the league, one against the Winnipeg Bruins and one against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Dupasquier noted Brandon may be vulnerable after losing starting goalie Trent Minor to the Western Hockey League.
If the Rangers can continue to play the way they did against the Wild for the rest of the season, Dupasquier feels they should be able to get points in the majority of the remaining games and, hopefully, push for a playoff spot.
The compete level within the team structure is what pleased Dupasquier most about the two games against Winnipeg. Every player, he said, bought in and they all accepted their roles and put in an honest effort.
“And when we do that, we’re a tough team to play against,” he said, adding he hopes the players realize this is something they have to do every shift of every game.
“Hopefully, our leadership group has taken the bull by the horns and the dressing room realizes that we’re in emergency mode right now. We’ve got to get going or we’re going to be watching come March,” he said.
The Rangers will look to begin its push for a playoff spot this weekend when they face the Cougars, Friday in Souris. On Sunday, Parkland hosts the Norman North Stars at 2 p.m..

Jakki Lumax