Tonight marked the finale for the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, between the Rangers and the Sabres. The Rangers are back in the finals since 2007, when they took home the championship. Just to give you an idea, the last Rangers team to win included Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Michael Sauer, and Marc Staal.
The Rangers went into this one expecting a tough Sabres squad, which was very size oriented. Their size sure showed when Christian Thomas was hit pretty high by Sabres defenseman, Brayden McNabb. The Sabres jumped to an early 2-0 lead with goals coming from Luke Adam, and Marcus Foligno.
Carl Hagelin expressed his speed and vision to set up J.T. Miller halfway through the first period to cut the deficit to 2-1. Gernander gathered the troops, and made a very energizing speech to lead the team into the second period. Early in the first Jason Wilson and Corey Tropp, dropped the gloves in a heated battle. Both players came away with a few cuts and bruises.
Later on in the second period, Ryan Bourque tied up the game at 2-2, after finding a loose puck in front. That point allowed Bourque to tied the all-time Rangers Traverse City point record since Brandon Dubinsky, back in 2007. This game came down to the final 20 minutes to decide the winner.
Corey Tropp gave the Sabres an early 3-2 after Lee Baldwin misplayed a puck, which led to an odd-man rush. Tropp buried it over the high glove side of Scott Stajcer. It was a fairly even period until the score broke open when Marcus Foligno notched his second of the night, followed up by another goal coming from Daniel Catenacci.
Overall, it was a great effort by the Rangers against a much stronger and experienced Sabres club. It was a great showing of all the Rangers prospects, and we are definitely in for a bright future. It should be a very interesting few years, to see what these kids develop into.
The next chapter for the 2011-2012 season starts next Wednesday as the Rangers big club opens the pre-season against the Devils at 7:00 PM. The Rangers also open up training camp this coming Friday, which will officially mark the beginning of the 2011-2012 Rangers hockey season!