Rough start to February for Rockford Varsity Hockey squad

The Rockford Rams Varsity Hockey team had a rough start to the final month of the high school hockey season by earning just 2 out of a possible 6 points. The Rams defeated Rochester Stoney Creek 3-1 on Feb 4. Rockford fell to Marquette 3-1 on Feb 6. On Feb 11 the Rams dropped a hard-fought league contest to Reeths-Puffer 5-4.


The Rams opened the month of February with a trip to Chelsea to face Rochester Stoney Creek in the 5th Annual Michigan Public High School Hockey Showcase. The Showcase is an annual weeklong event featuring over 60 public high school hockey programs from around the state. Rockford opened the scoring in the first period with a goal by Jacob McNamara (assisted by Tanner Vesche and Jeff Benda). The Rams netted their second goal midway through the second period when Brock Johnson put the puck in the back of the net (Braden King and Connor Foss picked up the helpers). The Rams scored their final goal of the game early in the third period. Niklas Baumgardner fired the puck passed the RSC goalie on the first shift of the final period (assisted by Vesche and McNamara). Stoney Creek picked up their lone goal late in the 3rd period to make it a 3-1 final. Rockford netminder Brendan Coolbaugh recorded the win.


Rockford returned to Chelsea two days later for their final game in the MPHSH Showcase. All the scoring in this contest took place in the opening period. Marquette jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period. The Rams responded with a goal by Benda (assisted by Vesche) a few moments later. Marquette scored the final goal of the game in the waning seconds of the first. It was a defensive battle in the second and third periods and neither goalie surrendered another goal. When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read Marquette 3, Rockford 1. Coolbaugh took the loss in this hard-fought battle.


On Feb 11 the Rams traveled to Muskegon to face OK Conference Tier 1 rival Reeths-Puffer. The Rams opened the scoring with two goals in the opening period. McNamara scored on the power play (assisted by Vesche and Ullrey) and a few moments later Vesche scored to make it 2-0 (assisted by McNamara). Reeths-Puffer scored one late to make it 2-1 at the end of one. Brendan Kennedy scored for the Rams in the middle period (assisted by Brock Johnson). The Rockets responded with 3 goals in the period, taking a 4-3 lead heading into the final stanza. Ullrey (assisted by Damon Harvey and Vesche) tied the game for the Rams on a goal midway through the third, sending the contest into overtime. Both teams had quality chances in the extra session, but it was the Rockets that ended up on top, netting the game winner late in OT. Coolbaugh recorded the defeat in this one.


The Rams are 14-6-1 overall (3-5-0 in league play).


Upcoming games for Rockford include a league tilt against East Kentwood on Wednesday, Feb 18 at Griff’s Ice House. Game time is 8pm. The Rams play host to another league opponent on Friday, Feb 20 as Forest Hills Central makes the trip to Griff’s Ice House for an 8pm contest. Come out and support the Black and Orange as the regular season winds down. Go Rams!