The Boston Jr. Rangers enjoyed a great run in the Eastern Hockey League of 2016-17, hitting 30 wins and featuring two of the most electrifying players in the league.
By Joshua Boyd
However, with both Johnny Andrews (Southern New Hampshire U.) and Mike MacPherson (Amarillo, NAHL) gone, this will be a very different Jr. Rangers squad in 2017-18. With a very strong defensive group – a mix of returning veterans and exciting newcomers – the 2017-18 Rangers will “be tougher to play against in the defensive zone, and be a really good puck-moving team,” according to general manager/head coach Rich DeCaprio.
“Every year is the same, where you come in with fresh faces and weathered faces who can hopefully teach the new guys the ropes,” said DeCaprio. “Coming off a 30-win season, we want to at least match those 30 wins and go as far as we can in the playoffs. We’ll be more of a transition team, with quick strikes. I think it’ll be more of a hard-hat team this year. We’ll take pride in our defensive zone work and capitalize on chances.”
The fourth-year Ranger Jared Bernis leads the way on the blue line. He is joined by Rangers veterans Damien Dangueuger and Nick Grinvalds. Joe Gilbert was signed out of Massachusetts prep school Buckingham, Browne and Nichols. His high-end skills will add to an already solid “D” corps.
Up front, a lot of the Rangers’ offensive hopes are pinned on fourth-year Ranger Danny Sorabella.
“We expect Danny to have a breakout year. As a ’98, we expect him to play a big role,” said DeCaprio.
Forward regulars Tyler Gardiner and Ryan Tierney return from the Rangers’ top team. DeCaprio is looking forward to seeing what former 19U Elite Rangers Zach Norby (that team’s leading scorer), Ryan Graelich and Dan Barry can see at the top EHL level.
Third-year junior veteran and second-year Ranger Nolan Egbert returns to the crease for the Rangers. Egbert posted a .926 save percentage in 26 EHL games last year.
“He is one of the best goalies, if not the best goalie, in the league,” said DeCaprio.
Ben Parker, a ’98 goalie, moves up from the 19U Elite squad to the EHL this season. He posted a .915 save percentage in 17 games last year.
“We are looking very solid in goal,” added DeCaprio.
Read past Eastern Hockey League articles in our archives: