Hockey drops opening weekend games with two narrow losses against Byron Center and Allen Park

Matthew Mahoney

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Playing without two of its main contributors on offense, the hockey team fell in both of its games this past weekend at the hands of Byron Center and Allen Park. The game against the Bulldogs of Byron Center was well within the Rangers’ grasp as they led 3-1 in the second period, but failure to capitalize on offensive opportunities as well as defensive breakdowns resulted in three unanswered goals for Byron Center, giving them the 4-3 win. Against Allen Park, however, it was quite the opposite as the Rangers struggled to get many offensive opportunities, cutting their shots on goal in half from the previous night.

Early in the first period, Byron Center opened up a lead against FHC. Although, after that goal, the Rangers completely took over offensively. Off a fast break and then a rebound, senior Johnny Mielock evened up the game at 1 apiece. Then, just 30 seconds later, junior Mason Kelly—who was a force to be reckoned with all game—gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead with nine minutes remaining in the first period. At the end of the first 17 minutes, the Rangers held the advantage of shots on goal with 12 to Byron Center’s four, but that advantage would only get bigger in the second period.

In the first seven minutes of the second period, the game was fairly even. However, at the 9:30 mark in the period, senior Ryan Jeffreys scored on the break to put the Rangers up 3-1. However, just over a minute later, Byron Center scored to keep the game within reach. Despite only leading by one goal, the Rangers had 26 shots on goal compared to Byron Center’s 11. 

This inability to take advantage of the many opportunities would come back to haunt the Rangers as the Bulldogs scored two more goals in the third and final period to bring the final score to 4-3 in favor of Byron Center. Byron Center’s Trevor Davis had both of the Bulldogs’ goals in the final 17 minutes, with both goals spectacularly taken from distance into the back of the net.   

Saturday’s opponent—the Allen Park Jaguars—fell to East Grand Rapids by a resounding 3-0 scoreline on Friday night. Despite this, they came back to beat the Rangers 2-1 on Saturday, and the score indicates the game was closer than it really was. FHC’s goal from Mason came with just 16 seconds remaining in the game, so it didn’t make much of a difference. 

Both of Allen Park’s goals came from turnovers in the middle of the ice, which also caused problems for the Rangers on Friday night. The game was slow, especially on the offensive end, as FHC only managed 17 shots on goal. 

With these two losses, the Rangers begin the season 0-2 in the beginning non-conference games. The boys will look to start conference play this Friday with a win over arch-rival East Grand Rapids. In order to do so, the Rangers need to find a way to finish off chances without two of their best offensive players.