Rockford Varsity Hockey heads into new year with 10-2-0 record

Rockford's Mitchell Sehlmeyer prepares for a face-off against Northville on Dec. 21. Photo By Sheila Bach

By Tim Baumgardner

The Rockford Rams Varsity Hockey Club closed out the 2018 portion of the season with two home games at Griff’s Ice House. On Friday, Dec. 21 the #7 ranked Ice Rams hosted #9 ranked Northville and on Saturday, Dec. 22 Rockford hosted Traverse City West.

On Friday, the Ice Rams honored Rockford students with Student Appreciation Night, which featured free pizza, several giveaways, and a post-game skate with the players. The stands were packed and the students were energized. Unfortunately, the game didn’t go as desired. Northville blanked Rockford, 5-0. The game was fairly balanced, with both teams earning quality scoring chances. The difference: the Ice Rams couldn’t solve Northville’s goaltender. Zac Sherman took the loss in net for the Rams, with Caleb Keely seeing some minutes late in the third period.

Rockford bounced back the next night against Traverse City West amid unusual circumstances. The first period opened with both teams exchanging shots on net, but no goals scored. At about the 10-1/2 minute mark of the opening session, a big hit near the penalty box resulted in a pane of the glass shattering. Play was halted and the teams retreated to their locker rooms. After a short delay, the game was moved to the East Rink at Griff’s Ice House. Fans and players made their way to the alternate sheet of ice where the game would resume with about 6-1/2 minutes to go in the first period. Despite quality scoring chances, neither team would score in the opening session.

TC West tallied their first and only goal of the game 70 seconds into the second period. From there, it was all Rockford. Cade Baumgardner netted the first two goals for the Ice Rams: the first tally came midway through the middle session (assisted by Kevin Healy and Dan Sokol) and the second score came with less than a minute to go in the period (assisted by Aidan Hoffman). The Rams took the 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

The Rams carried the momentum into the third period, exploding for six more scores before the final horn sounded: Sokol (assisted by Baumgardner) scored just one minute into the final session, followed by Healy (unassisted), Sokol again (assisted by Hoffman and Baumgardner), Baumgardner with the hat trick goal (assisted by Sokol and Hoffman), Brendan Bach (assisted by Tommy Schwandt and Mitch Sehlmeyer) and Sokol with his hat trick goal (assisted by Blake Jackson). In the end, it was Rockford claiming the 8-1 victory over Traverse City West. Netminder Zac Sherman earned the win for the Rams.

The Ice Rams enjoy the Christmas break with a 10-2-0 overall record (6-1-0 in league play). Next up: Rockford travels to MSU’s Munn Ice Arena on Saturday, Jan. 5 for a matinee tilt against Lake Orion. Puck drop is scheduled for 12noon. On Saturday, Jan. 12, the Rams travel north to Ferris State’s Ewigleben Ice Arena for another matinee contest, this time against White Lake Lakeland. This game is scheduled to start at 2pm.

As always, you can follow the Ice Rams online at RockHockey.org or on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Go Rams!