“A true team win—every line and every player contributed tonight,” summarized Head Coach Ed Van Portfliet of an impressive 7-3 Rams varsity hockey victory Saturday night, Dec. 5, against the always tough East Grand Rapids Pioneers. The game was part of the Tier 1 Showcase Tournament, pairing all the Tier 1 high school hockey teams in West Michigan and “showcasing” them in games of tournament play.
The Rams were the last contest of the night and truly showcased their depth of talented and skilled players. Although down two players due to injury, everyone was called on to play hard and contribute, and everyone answered that call.
The Rams struck first and hard in period one, as they found themselves up 3-0 with 6:13 still left in the period. Senior defenseman Geoff Garman found the net first with a shot from the blue line off a nice face-off assist from senior forward Jon Miller and junior forward Zach King.
King put it right back in the net at the 6:28 mark, unassisted, only to be followed by a Cody Cantu goal 15 seconds later with assists from sophomore forward Ben Glass and senior forward Alex Fox, making it 3-0 Rams.
The Rams kept the Pioneers in check until the 3:18 mark, when East Grand Rapids scored to put it 3-1. The Pioneers continued to fight back in the first period and scored again on a power play, making it 3-2 Rams at the end of period one.
The depth and talent of the Rams was truly showcased in the second period, as the offensive line of Miller, King and junior Alex Schrotenboer really came together and poured it on the Pioneers.
Van Portfliet echoed this after the game as he stated, “Although a true team effort, I was very pleased and impressed by this line tonight. They really shined for us.”
Although starting period two down a player on the penalty kill, the Rams hit the Pioneers with three goals in 34 seconds, as senior forward Cantu stole the puck from three Pioneers in the front of their net and put it in at the 2:42 mark, really charging up the crowd. Twelve seconds later, forward Schrotenboer charged the net and put one in along with help from Miller and senior defensemen Eric Conroy.
Barely 20 seconds later, the Ram faithful really erupted as Schrotenboer positioned himself perfectly in front of the net and scored on a beautiful rebound goal at the 2:08 mark for his second score of the night, making it 6-2 Rams at the start of the third.
Conroy started the scoring for Rockford in period three as he put one in on a Ram power play at the 13:44 mark, making it 7-2 Rockford.
The Rams continued to play aggressive and smart throughout the third as they sensed a win. A Ram penalty at the 1:49 mark allowed the Pioneers to sneak a freebie in on a score that bounced off a Ram player and into Rockford’s net with :09 seconds left in the game to end it 7-3, a Ram win.
Overall, the Rams played outstanding team hockey and their parents, coaches, friends and Ram fans appreciated their efforts in this great hockey contest.
The Rams varsity hockey team would like to thank all their supporters from Saturday night and invite them to their next game on Wednesday, Dec. 9 against Muskegon Catholic Central at Lakeshore Ice Arena in Muskegon. Game time is 6:30 p.m.