By TIM BAUMGARDNER
The Rockford Rams Varsity Hockey Club opened up the 2018 portion of the 2017/18 season with two wins and one loss.
On Wednesday, January 10, Rockford traveled to Muskegon to face OK Conference foe Mona Shores. Mona opened the scoring just 8 seconds into the game. The Rams responded with the next six goals: Hunter Dakin (assisted by Cade Baumgardner) and Kevin Healy (unassisted) scored in the first period; in the second period Ryan Earl (unassisted) netted a goal and Dan Sokol scored twice (the first goal assisted by Michael Bedford, the second goal assisted by Kyle Switzer and Brendan Bach); in the third period Switzer (assisted by Baumgardner) capped the scoring for the Rams. Mona added two late goals and when the horn sounded the Rams claimed the 6-3 victory. Rockford goalie Zac Sherman recorded the win.
Two nights later, the Ice Rams traveled to Southside Ice Arena to face OK Tier 2 opponent Byron Center. BC jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Rockford battled back in the second period, scoring two goals of their own: Earl (assisted by Healy) and Healy (assisted by Drye and Aidan Hoffman). Midway through the final period BC tapped in a rebound to take the 3-2 lead, and added an empty net goal in the final minute to earn the 4-2 win. Rams goaltenders Justin Stack and Sherman combined for the loss
On Saturday, January 13, Rockford hosted East Grand Rapids at Griff’s Ice House. EGR scored the lone goal in the first period. Rockford responded early in the second period as Switzer (assisted by Bach) tied the game at 1-1. The tie was short lived; just 24 seconds later EGR reclaimed the one goal lead. Rockford again responded, this time early in the third period as Switzer, again, tied the game (assisted by Hunter Dakin). Three minutes later, Rockford struck again as Healy (unassisted) buried a breakaway. Ethan McCormack (unassisted) sealed the 4-2 win for the Rams by scoring an empty net goal in the final seconds of the game. Netminder Sherman earned the win for Rockford, making several outstanding saves throughout the game.
Next up for Rockford (8-5-0 overall, 0-4-0 league): on Friday, Jan. 19, the Rams host Byron Center for an 8pm tilt at Griff’s Ice House. Rockford students get in free and there will be a free open skate with the Rams players immediately after the game. Free rental skates will be available at the rink (or bring your own). On Saturday, Jan. 20, Rockford travels to Holland to face West Ottawa in a 3pm matinee game. On Wednesday, Jan. 24, Rockford hosts GR Christian in an 8pm contest at Griff’s Ice House. Rockford students get in free. And on Friday, Jan. 26, Rockford travels to Kentwood Ice Arena to play Lowell/Caledonia in an 8pm contest.
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