An exciting night for the Rams as a dozen are recognized as their season winds down of wearing the black and orange. Also recognized were senior team managers, Kelsey Curtis and Ashlee Graham and their exceptional knowledge of the game and incredible dedication to tracking stats for all home and away games.
To start the night a well-planned ceremony for the soon graduating seniors was executed flawlessly. Each senior was announced and a brief recap of their careers and a summary of the future plans after high school. An unforgettable highlight of the night was the “fat head” pictures of each senior player. As these players were announced, friends or family of the player broke out their skates and took a lap around the ice with the oversized heads for the fans to see. Once the festivities completed, it was time for the Rams to get down to business and play hockey.
Rockford hosted the Knights of Kenowa Hills for the Saturday night game. The Knights knew they would have to play mistake free to have any chance to stop the Rams. This would be no easy task as Rockford was fully armed. This match up would be the first fully rostered game of the season.
Rockford senior netminder, Todd Millar, would get the nod to start this game. Kenowa Hills brought a level of intensity to their game and challenged the Rams at both ends of the ice in the first period. Shots on goal were nearly equal in the early stages with both goalies not giving up the back of the net. Late in the period, it would be two Ram seniors connecting to put the Rams up 1-0. In an attempt to clear the puck out of their zone, a Knight defenseman was unable to do so and Rams forward Hunter Angus picked up the puck and drove down the left wing side at the Kenowa Hills net. A quick shot was saved by the Knight goaltender and deflected to the right side of the net. Rockford defenseman, Cam Bathum read the play the whole way and moved into position to fire the rebound into the back of the Knights goal. After one period, Rockford outshot the Knights 14-9 with Millar stopping all nine shots.
It took less than one minute into the 2nd period for the Rams to strike again. From the opening faceoff, Rockford carried the puck into the Knight’s zone. Bathum slid the puck to defensive partner, Conner Broderick. Broderick blasted a hard slapshot at the Kenowa Hills net which was re-directed by well-positioned teammate, Noah Brayton. The deflection off Brayton’s stick proved too much to handle and buried into the back of the net. While Rockford controlled much of the play, the shots on goal for the period showed Rockford outshooting Kenowa Hills by a slim margin of 14 to 11. Millar was stellar in net for the Rams denying any hopes for Kenowa to keep it closer than two goals.
The final 17 minutes was much like the first two periods with Kenowa Hills doing all possible to keep the game close. Rams netminder Jake Rekucki would get the 3rd period goaltending duties. Rockford continued to throw waves of pressure on the Knights in their zone. After a few minutes of the period had ticked away, Brayton struck again beating the Knight netminder again. Assists on the play went to Jonas Iversen and Bathum. Minutes later, Mark Cruickshank would pick up his own rebound and put the Rams up, 4-0 and a secure command on the lead. Assists on the goal went to Angus and Iversen. Rockford’s David Sokol would put the finishing touch on the game as linemates Austin Cantu and Trevor Mills worked the puck together in the Knights zone to a wide open Sokol in the slot. Sokol shot the puck with authority, scoring the game’s final goal with a 5-0 win. Final shots on goal for the period gave the Rams 11 and Kenowa Hills 7.
Congratulations to the following senior class of 2013 Rockford Rams Varsity Hockey Team: Hunter Angus, Cam Bathum, Austin Cantu, Mark Cruickshank, Blake Erhart, Nathan Hill, Jonas Iversen, Nick Larsen, Todd Millar, Jake Rekucki, Stephen Shira, and Jacob Smyth. Team Managers Kelsey Curtis and Ashlee Graham
Rockford travels this Friday, February 22 to Patterson Ice Center for their final regular season game to take on Forest Hills Northern/Forest Hills Eastern Co-Op team. Game time is 8 pm. The Rams took the first game of the home and home series by a score of 3-1. The Rams have sweep in mind and final redemption of last year’s fluke goal and overtime loss at Patterson Ice Center. Come out and support the Rams on the Road. This will be a great game to be a part of!