Rangers hope to improve on benchmark ’09-’10 season
oming off their best showing in recent years with a 35-21-6 record last season, the Gloucester Rangers have their sights set even higher entering the 2010-11 Jr. ‘A’ campaign in the freshly-rebranded Central Hockey League.
“I think, all around, we’re hoping to be better,”says Rangers head coach Rick Dorval, noting a team goal will be to again finish in the league’s top four and earn homeice advantage for the playoffs. “We’d just like to build off last year’s success and continue to advance as an organization.”
Gloucester is without last year’s No. 2 scorer Stephen Blunden – who will begin his Canadian Interuniversity Sport career this fall – but the team’s other major weapons remain intact otherwise in the Rangers’ experienced lineup.
Leading the offensive attack will be 103point man Andrew Creppin – who is expected to serve as Gloucester captain despite not dressing during the pre-season – along with Nick Vidoni, Michael Webley and off-season acquisition Brock Plouffe, a former 34-goal scorer with the Cumberland Grads.
Dorval believes the blue line led by Sean Blunden and Richard Penning should be stronger this year thanks to the addition of Orléans native Jordan Fequet from Kanata, along with BradVaughn from Kemptville and U.S.-born Joe Catalano.
Gloucester enjoyed a “very competitive” training camp that came with a few surprises, Dorval says, highlighting former Ottawa Sting forward David Kilrea, who was second in Rangers scoring during the pre-season with seven goals and four assists in eight contests.
“David’s a kid that showed up to our prospect camp and has done everything he can to make a spot on this team,”Dorval adds. “He’s filled the net, played physical and is making everybody else’s life miserable.”
The goalie position – a sore spot for last year’s squad as they cycled through four different starting netminders – remains a bit of a question mark this year for the club, which hadn’t picked a No. 1 as of last week. The Rangers hope they have the answer, however, in one of their two out-of-league signees, Max Dizgun or Elliot Daigneault.
The overall outlook has Dorval optimistic the 2010-11 season will be a memorable one as his Rangers try to narrow the gap between themselves and last year’s league finalists, Pembroke and Brockville.
“It’s a pretty exciting time for us here,” says the second-year head coach who promises a more disciplined team than the one that was eliminated in six games by Ottawa in the first round of last year’s playoffs. “We’re going to compete every night to make sure we’re always a threat to play against.” The Gloucester Rangers see their first regular season game action at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11 during the league’s annual showcase event, to be held at Kanata Rec Centre. The Rangers’ home opener goes at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 when they host the Cumberland Grads at Earl Armstrong Arena.