On Friday night, Feb. 12, the Rockford Rams varsity hockey team played the East Grand Rapids Pioneers for the second time this season. And for the second time this season, Rockford skated away with a well-earned victory. The Rams beat the Pioneers decisively in their first meeting, and the expectation was East Grand Rapids (EGR) wanted a little revenge. However, that was not the case, as the Rams’ hard skating, smart play and solid teamwork earned them a 3-1 win.
Although the first period seemed to have momentum a little more in EGR’s favor, it ended with neither team putting a puck in the net.
Period two saw the Rams pick up the pace, as senior forward Noah Greco found the back of the Pioneers’ net at the 13:33 mark with an assist from junior forward Eric Datema, making it 1-0 Rams. Penalties followed and forced the Rams to play short-handed twice. However, the penalty kill unit gave the Pioneers nothing. After the penalties cleared on both sides, the Pioneers scored with 2:11 remaining, making it tie game at 1-1.
The Rams were not done for the period and gained the lead back when senior Jake Chaffee scored at the 1:08 mark with a nice assist from senior forward Eric Conroy, closing the second period at 2-1 Rams.
Third period action saw both teams fight hard to earn the win. The Rams answered the Pioneers’ pressure when Greco scored his second goal of the night at the 8:02 mark, assisted by senior forward Robert Perry. Although the Rams found themselves on the penalty kill again with 4:30 seconds remaining in the contest, hard defensive team play and excellent goaltending by senior Christian Van Portfliet kept the Pioneers scoreless and sealed the Rockford win, ending the contest at 3-1 Rams.
The Rams’ next contest is Tuesday, Feb. 16 against Muskegon Catholic Central at Lakeshore Arena in Muskegon. Game time is 5:00 p.m.