Thursday, March 3, the Rockford Rams varsity hockey team traveled to Traverse City to take on the Titans from Traverse City West. The Rams knew it would be a tough game, playing a very good team in their home arena in the second round of the state championship tournament. Many were concerned that a long bus ride would take its toll on the team, but the Rams showed all of us that this would not be the case. Led by the seniors knowing that this could be their last game of their high school career, the Rams came out skating a very aggressive style of play. Rockford got the first great scoring chance, when Thomas Soupal got behind the Titan defense on a full-out breakaway, but the Traverse City goaltender came up with a huge save to keep the game knotted at zero. As the second period began with the score 0-0, the Rams continued to pepper the Titan goalie, and each time they came up empty. This was looking like a game that would come down to the first one to score would get the win. Traverse City West had their chances in the second as well, but Rockford sophomore goaltender Todd Millar came up with multiple solid saves as well. The game continued through the second period to be a tight battle, with both teams getting scoring chances but neither goaltender breaking down. As the buzzer went off for the end of the second period, the score still stood tied at zero. In the third period, it appeared that the momentum had begun to swing the Titans’ way. In the final period, the Rams were outshot by a margin of 11-5. Just three minutes into the third period, Traverse City West put together a flurry of shots on the Rockford goal. The Rockford goaltender was able to get the initial shot as well as the first rebounded shot. But the second shot, bouncing out to a waiting Titan forward, was driven home for the game’s first score. The Rams had fought too hard thus far and were not going to let a one-goal game get them down. They continued to fight through and made every minute count, but a couple of untimely penalties […]
Friday night, Feb. 18, the Rockford varsity hockey team honored their seniors first with a ceremony to recognize their accomplishments both on and off the ice. This year’s senior class includes Eric Datema. Alex Schrotenboer, Zack King, Zack Vandawater, Mike Vandervelde and Thomas Soupal. Each of these players and their parents were introduced to an excited home crowd. All of these players have had a long and successful hockey career to this point. The time and support that their parents have put in for these many years was also something that could not be forgotten. From the time these boys first started playing the game when they were in grade school, their parents have been there to support them and cheer them on during the long road to get to this point. Understandably, all the moms and dads were both proud and emotional to stand there with their boys, who have all grown up to be fine student athletes. With the beginning of the game being opened up with Matt Vermeer singing the National Anthem, the air in the arena was certainly filled with excitement. From the drop of the puck, Rockford was determined to take control of the game, and they certainly did. The first period was controlled by the Rams, even though they had to kill off a number of penalties. The Rams still kept the puck in the Manistee zone with a very aggressive fore check. The Manistee goalie saw plenty of shots in the first period, but fought off every one, as both teams skated to their locker rooms for the first intermission with the score tied at 0-0. The second period saw the Rams continue to put pressure on their opponent with smothering defense that caused numerous turnovers. It was not until 9:32 left in the second period that Rockford finally got to the back of the net. After a face-off win in the Manistee zone, Nate Hill drove it home, and getting the assist on the play was Justin Ullrey. The lead proved to be short lived. About a minute later, off a turnover in the Rockford zone, a Manistee forward had no one between him and the Rockford goaltender, Jake Rekucki. One quick fake and a shot over […]
Rams battle past Eagles Wednesday night, Jan. 26, Rockford took on the Forest Hills Northern/Eastern (FHN) hockey team as they tried to avenge an earlier season loss. The first period of the game showed that these teams remembered well the battle that they had just six weeks earlier. Both teams came out hitting in what proved to be one of the more physical battles of the tier one season. Forest Hills was the first to get on the scoreboard as a shot from the high slot got through multiple players and, just before Rockford goaltender Jake Rekucki was able to get a pad on it, the puck was redirected into the net. Rockford had a couple golden opportunities on power plays with one of them giving them the two-man advantage, but the Forest Hills goaltender seemed to be there to stop anything on its way to the net. The first period ended with the score at 1-0 Forest Hills. The second period was a great defensive battle on both sides with minimal scoring opportunities for either side, but entertaining hockey to watch either way. Both squads played solid defense with minimal penalties to kill off, which was great to see as well. As the buzzer sounded at the end of the second period, the score remained at 1-0 FHN. The third period was filled with a lot of action but also plenty of trips to the penalty box as well. Less than two minutes into the period, FHN forward Sam Rennaker came out of the corner and put a blistering snap shot that went in just under the cross bar. After a flurry of penalties, including Rockford having to kill off a five-minute major, FHN put up what appeared to be the goal that would seal the deal with just 8:05 left in the third. The Rams knew that in a game like this, if you put enough pucks on net eventually one will find the back. Just 20 seconds later, on a breakaway, Zach Schwandt converted to put the Rams on the board. Senior defenseman Mike VanderVelde got the assist with a quick outlet pass that got the breakaway started that hit Schwandt right on the tape of his stick in stride. Both […]
Rockford’s boys lacrosse team knocked off West Ottawa in the opening game of the Division 1, region 1 state high school lacrosse tournament on May 26. The final score was 7 to 5 at West Ottawa High School. The Rams scoring was led by junior midfielder Erik Datema, who scored three goals. Attack man Mitch Newton had two goals along with two assists. Also scoring for Rockford were Blake McDonald and Kevin Badersnider. The Rams defense of Cooper Sturr, Jordan Shiparski, Austin Mills, Josh Henry and Brandon Emmons supported the strong goal-keeping of sophomore Connor Flynn, who recorded 14 saves against the Panthers. Coach Tim Murray’s young team will next face Detroit U-D Jesuit in a regional semi-final match on Wednesday June 2, at the neutral location of Holt High School.