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FHC hockey defeats EGR 9-1 in round one of the playoffs

Sam Hopkins, Sports Editor

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Pack the Patterson was the mantra on Tuesday night, as the Rangers of FHC took on the Pioneers of EGR for the third time this season. FHC, having already won the two previous matchups, had the Pioneers on the ropes from the get-go. Scoring a barrage of goals, three to be exact, in the first five minutes deflated the energy EGR had coming into the contest.

“It was a great feeling,” said senior defensemen Nick Sarjeant. “We were supposed to be the one and two seeds matching up against each other in the first round. The difference between us and them tonight was that senior mentality, that it’s not going to be your last game in the first round of the playoffs.”

Defying the premise of this matchup being a tightly contested one, FHC went on to mercy EGR by a final score of 9-1 in the first round of the playoffs. The haircuts of the Ranger hockey boys aren’t the only thing making a statement in West Michigan. Their play is proving vital as well. Five wins are the only thing standing between the Rangers and a state title.

“It’s going to take twenty-three players,” said Nick, who has started every game for the Rangers this season. “We’ve been down 1-0 numerous times this year, and we aren’t a team that likes to come out strong or quick. I think those fast starts are going to be key and everyone doing their part.”

Senior goaltender Drake Deering has not had the easiest path to this point, but on Tuesday night he stole the spotlight. Allowing only one goal, against an impressive EGR side, Drake came up with several big saves on the night.

“It’s mentally reassuring to get that first offensive goal behind you,” Drake said. “It builds up the confidence. If you let one in, then it’s not the end of the world. The whole first period was when I realized I had some insurance and that our team is for real.”

FHC, after cruising past a second-seeded EGR team, will now take on Catholic Central on Thursday night. As with the Pioneers, FHC has taken on this Catholic Central team twice as well. The Rangers made quick work of the Cougars in their two previous matchups, and they plan to carry their momentum into their third contest of the season.

With fourteen seniors on the Rangers roster, they are accepting nothing less than success. The FHC hockey team has come close to winning it all in the recent past, but has never been able to seal the deal come crunch time.

“That’s what won us the game last night,” Drake said. “Getting off to the quick start is so important. Everyone’s got to buy in. Whether their first line or fifth, we have to be ready for it.”

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