The Rockford area Pee Wee house hockey team is the District VI MAHA champion. West Shore Community College was the scene for a tough five-game tournament in early February for these 11- and 12-year-olds.
The Rockford Rams started with a 2-3 loss Friday night to East Grand Rapids (EGRAHA). The Rams had their backs against the wall—one more loss and they were out.
Saturday morning, the Rams beat a previously undefeated Kalamazoo team on a goal by defenseman Cam Hendrie from near the point. Goalie Brendan Coolbaugh made several great saves to earn the 1-0 shutout.
Saturday evening, the Rams overpowered a Jackson team 6-0, led by Matthew Baker’s two goals and another shutout for Coolbaugh.
A tournament undefeated Big Rapids team with a former Rockford goalie, Alan Kolenda, battled to a 2-2 tie on Sunday morning. With only 25 seconds left in the third period, Ryan Wolfe stole the puck near the blue line and scored a nice breakaway wrist shot to win the game 3-2.
Sunday’s championship game brought back the Kalamazoo (KOHA) team, and they were looking for revenge. KOHA scored first midway through the first period. Less than a minute later, Rams defenseman and captain Jeff Benda scored on a long shot that hit the crossbar and the back of the net, tying the game 1-1. The Rams’ Bradley Barnard scored midway through the second period and brought the score to 2-1 for the Rams after two. Midway through the third, Matthew Baker scored a huge goal to make it 3-1, Rams.
With 25 seconds left, KOHA scored a power play goal, bringing the score to 3-2, Rams. The Rams fought through two face-offs deep in their zone to finish the game. With gloves and sticks flying, the Ram bench exploded onto the ice to swarm goalie Coolbaugh.