Ed VanPortfliet

Rams’ Playoff Run Ends in Regional Hockey Finals

March 12, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CHRIS CRUICKSHANK They say all good things must come to an end, and so it was for Coach Ed VanPortfliet’s 2008-2009 Rockford varsity hockey team. The Rams bowed out on Saturday night in a 0-4 loss at the hands of the Howell Highlanders. The loss left the Rams’ overall record at 19-5-2-1. The Highlanders scored the first period’s only goal on a power play three minutes into the contest. The score stayed pegged at 0-1 late into the second period as the teams battled back and forth. Then with 5:25 remaining, the Rams’ wheels started to fall off. By the end of the period, Howell had exploded for three unanswered goals, and the Rams had imploded as they were whistled off for five penalties totaling an astounding 21 minutes in the penalty box. The third period saw almost continuous action by the teams’ power play and penalty-killing teams, and less than two minutes of five-on-five hockey. Rockford’s only memorable moment of the period came when net-minder Forrest Andrus stopped a Highlander penalty shot. So, at the end of it all, the scoreboard read 0-4, and the teams were exchanging hockey’s traditional handshakes at center ice. Meanwhile, in the stands, the parents of the 12 Rockford seniors were wrestling with lumps in their throats and tears in their eyes as the curtain was lowered to mark the end of their sons’ high school hockey careers and the end of a very successful season for Rockford hockey. Rockford had advanced to the regional final by defeating Grand Ledge/Waverly 3-1 on Monday and DeWitt/St. Johns 5-1 on Wednesday. The Grand Ledge game was among the Rams’ best performances of the season. After a scoreless first period, Jake Chaffee scored a goal assisted by Robert Perry and Shea Mills. Then on a power play, Sam Gallup skated from end to end, weaving in and out of defenders, and slid it into the net for a 2-0 lead. Chaffee scored his second tally of the game when he fired in a rebound resulting from a collision between Gallup and the charging Grand Ledge goalie at the top of the circles. Grand Ledge spoiled Andrus’ shutout bid, scoring with only six seconds left in the contest. Even with that blemish, […]