The Rockford Rams varsity hockey team won a well-deserved overtime victory against the Crusaders of Muskegon Catholic Central on Tuesday night, Feb. 16, at Lakeshore Arena in Muskegon.
The Crusaders put the first point on the board with 13:19 left in the first period while on the power play. Although the Rams took another penalty later in the period with 2:15 left, the Rams’ penalty kill unit managed to keep it 1-0 Crusaders.
Period two saw penalties coming and going from both teams. The Rams, with a five-on-three power play advantage, fired back at the 7:54 mark as senior forward Cody Cantu found the back of the Crusaders’ net, assisted by junior forward Thomas Soupal. This made it a 1-1 contest.
Barely 47 seconds later, the Rams struck again, when senior forward Jake Chaffee scored at the 7:07 mark, putting the Rams up 2-1. Assisting Chaffee on the score was senior forward Eric Conroy and junior defenseman Mike VanderVelde. Unfortunately the Crusaders struck back with 1:02 left, to close the period at 2-2.
The third period saw both teams come out for the win with hard skating, great goaltending and good physical play. However, overtime was right around the corner, with period three ending at 2-2.
Overtime was fast and furious as the Rams started one man down on the penalty kill. After the Rams successfully killed it off, it was time for Muskegon Catholic Central to take a penalty, and they did just that, allowing junior forward Eric Datema to clinch the Ram victory with a nice power play goal at the 4:57 mark. Assisting Datema on the game sealer was senior defensemen Robert Perry and Chaffee.
Kudos must be given to junior net-minder Taylor Newton for a stellar performance, as the Crusaders put 30 shots on net versus 26 for the Rams.
The Rams’ next contest is Wednesday, Feb. 24, against the Kentwood Falcons at Walker Ice & Fitness Center. Game time is 7:00 p.m.