The Rockford Rams varsity hockey team traveled west Wednesday evening, Jan. 27, to take on perennial powerhouse Mona Shores, and returned home to Ram country with a huge 5-3 win. The rivalry between Rockford and Mona Shores has always been intense, and a win against the Sailors on their home ice has always been something to savor for any visiting team.
Leading the attack and having a big night for the Rams were senior forwards Cody Cantu and Noah Greco. Cantu’s outstanding performance resulted in two goals and one assist for the night, while Greco’s stellar performance produced two goals for the big win.
Rockford’s Eric Datema wraps around the net, setting up a chance to score. Photo by MICHELE VANDERVELDE
Always a tough opponent, the Rams had to score early and often on the Sailors, and they did just that in the first period. Cantu put the Rams on the board first, scoring at the 13:19 mark with a nice setup assist from junior defenseman Mike VanderVelde, who also had a great night for the Rams, bringing his trademark rock solid defensive game. Less than three minutes later, Cantu found the net again at the 10:30 mark, giving the Rams a two-goal advantage. Assisting was senior defenseman Drake Veitenheimer.
Although the Sailors cut the lead to one with a goal at the 9:16 mark, the Rams got the two-goal advantage back when Greco found the back of the Sailor net with 4:53 seconds left in the first to end the period 3-1 Rams. The assists went to junior forward Eric Datema and Cantu.
Period two saw the Rams keep the pressure on and not let up. The Rams struck first to widen the lead on another Greco goal at the 13:45 mark, again assisted by Cantu, making it 4-1 Rams. The Sailors did manage a score with 6:05 left in the period. However, great goaltending by Christian Van Portfliet and constant pressure by all the Ram lines kept the game in check to end the second period at 4-2, Rams.
The third period saw penalties on both teams, allowing Mona Shores to score on the power play at the 8:05 mark. However, Ram senior forward Jake Chaffee answered right back with a nice goal at the 6:05 mark, maintaining the Rams’ two-point advantage at 5-3. Senior forward Eric Conroy made the assist for Chaffee.
From there the Rams kept up the pressure, skated hard and played smart hockey for the remainder of the game, even forcing the Sailors to commit two more penalties. This was enough to lock in a well-deserved Ram victory.
The Rams’ next game is against the Grandville Bulldogs on Thursday, Feb. 4 at Southside Ice Arena. Game time is 7:00 p.m.
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