New Mexico Renegades: Western States League team stays strong after topsy-turvy November

New Mexico Renegades: Western States League team stays strong after topsy-turvy November

A four-game losing streak. A five-game winning streak. Another three-game losing streak. Two players out, two players in.

What a November it was for the New Mexico Renegades, but they’re still staying competitive in the Western States Hockey League at 9-8-0-1.

“We played some of our best and, at the same time, some of our worst hockey during the winning streak,” said co-coach Cliff Cook.

Over the Nov. 2-4 weekend, the Renegades lost three straight to the Cheyenne Stampede and then lost their first of three games against the Phoenix Knights. The Renegades bounced back to win the next two against the Knights and all three of their games against the Dallas Snipers. Even in the wins against the Snipers, he said the Renegades “backtracked a bit.”

“We carried over our poor play from Dallas and did not play well in Cheyenne, and the results showed,” as the Stampede swept the Renegades again, said Cook.

Player movement was rather helter-skelter as well.

One of the team’s top scorers, Luc Fournier “had to go back to California,” said Cook, and goaltender Joey MacConnell moved up to the Osoyoos Coyotes, out of British Columbia, who play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

MacConnell played 10 games for the Renegades, posting a .921 save percentage, good for fifth in the league at the time of his signing up north.

Talk about consistency – MacConnell, in his first three games with Osoyoos, had a .922 save percentage, along with a 2-1 record. The KIJHL is a regular feeder for the British Columbia Hockey League and other Canadian Jr. A leagues and the major junior Western Hockey League.

While those two players exited the Renegades’ locker room, two others came in. Josh Burger has been with the team from the beginning, but missed nearly all of November’s games. He was due back in action for the team’s Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 series against the Boulder Bison.

He had six points in his first seven games and hopes to continue that pace.

Additionally, the team also brought in Tucker Gilliland, a ’95-born Michigan native who came in to challenge Tyler George.

The Renegades have some big league action coming up, including the Dec. 18-21 WSHL Shootout. Their seven games in December could help them move up in the Mountain Conference.

“We have said all along we have the toughest division in the WSHL and I think that is playing out as expected with the top four teams right there together,” Cook said.

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