Rangers at Traverse City: Game one loss has many bright spots

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Game one for the Rangers in Traverse City is complete, and even though they tallied three power play goals, the Rangers fell to a resurgent Stars group 7-5. Here are some quick hits from last night’s match.

Ville Meskanen and Lias Andersson – Donning number 81, Ville Meskanen was all over the ice tonight. Not only was he engaged in the play all night, but tallied the Rangers first goal of the tournament from a beautiful feed from Brett Howden in the first period. Lias Andersson was also noticeable, as he was engaged in most of the action last night, including a goal of his own, to tie the game at 2 before the end of the first. He also notched an assist later on, helping on Jakob Stukel’s goal.

Filip Chytil – Skating with his usual number 72, Chytil was also a strong presence on the ice, as he drew a penalty in the first to put New York on the power play before Meskanen scored, as well as tallying an assist on Libor Hajek’s goal in the second period, to put New York up 3-2. Clearly, Chytil’s play has improved significantly, as he did reasonably well with a line of himself, Meskanen and Gabriel Fontaine.

Brett Howden – In one of the stronger performances of the night, with two assists and playing with an extra edge in the contest, Brett Howden had a strong first performance in Ranger white. From seeing this tiny snippet so far, it seems that the reports of him playing with an edge are true, as he was strong on his skates and created many chances for himself and others, as he threw himself into every play possible.

Scoring all around – Although the Rangers lost this match, it’s evident that these young kids have no problem scoring goals. Michael Lindqvist, Jakob Stukel, Lias Andersson, Ty Ronning, Libor Hajek, Filip Chytil, Brett Howden and Ville Meskanen all contributed one way or another, as the Rangers went 3 for 5 on the man advantage.

Libor Hajek – While the Ranger defense wasn’t all bad, the one player that stood out was Libor Hajek. The reports of him being a sleek skating defenseman with a flare for the offensive play are true. Not only was he sound positionally for most of the night, but contributed to an incredibly lethal power play, that moved the puck with precision. Hajek was one of those players to help anchor the man advantage and his skill shone through very loudly.

Final Thoughts – The Rangers kids came out with a bang, but Dallas was able to take it to them late and take advantage of late penalties to get the 7-5 win. The positives from this however are all over the ice. Many of the young players on the ice were incredibly noticeable and engaged in the action. This first game also showed that these kids could score goals. Although the defense was not great but not terrible either, all in all, this was a successful first game in Traverse City.

Rangers get right back to it, as they face the Minnesota Wild prospects at 6:30PM EDT.