Ranger hockey bounces back to end their returning week


The Rangers returned from their holiday break with three home rink games in the week. They lost their first of the week to Forest Hills Northern/Eastern on Tuesday, then matched up against Jenison on Friday night. This game was easily the most dramatic game of the season for the Rangers.

The two teams went into the game holding the two bottom spots in the Baum Conference, which added extra demand for a win. However, the Wildcats from Jenison seemed to take that to heart earlier in the game as they ended the first period up 1-0. The Rangers weren’t happy about the score, so Jack Pierzynski, Colin Wojczynski, and Rocco Gonzalez each put the puck in the nylon to give themselves a 3-1 lead going into the final period. The lead seemed comfortable enough, but the Ranger defense let up a game-tying goal with half a second left on the clock to allow Jenison to take them into overtime. A lopsided overtime ended with the Wildcats riding home with another win to their names. The goalie for the game, Justin Baehr, had some critiques for the game.

“We outplayed them the entire game, however, the little things destroyed us in the end. We won that game if we didn’t have self-inflicted goals.”

The puck found its way past Baehr four times that game because his defense allowed four too many opportunities. Three of those included an own goal, a breakaway one on none, and a centering pass right in front of the net at the last second when the puck should have been held to kill time. It was a very winnable game that broke so many hearts, but it helped ignite the rage of many players leading up to a huge rivalry game the next day.

Soon after, on Saturday, the Rangers were hosted by East Grand Rapids at their shared rink for a mid-day match-up. It was imperative that FHC took home a win over the weekend, so the Rangers made it happen. Benny Mielock left the game on Friday due to an injury, but he returned on Saturday for a revenge tour. Benny took initiative and sent the puck behind two different Pioneer goalies in the single game. These goals, along with a shutout from Peter Nemmers and the Ranger defense, lead to the sinking of the Pioneers before they reached their metaphorical homeland and the biggest Ranger win of the season. 3-0 was the final score of the game with an open net goal in the final seconds. “We started to click after we killed off a five-minute penalty and there was high energy on the bench all game, which helped out a lot,” Benny exclaimed. “It seemed like everyone was on board.”

The Rangers are hoping to make this win the start of a streak as they plan on taking down Mona Shores on Wednesday, with Mona hosting at the Lakeshore Arena at 7:30 PM.