The Rockford High School varsity hockey team opened the 2010-2011 season against Forest Hills Central Friday night, Nov. 26, at the East Kentwood Tournament. The Rams have a young team with a roster that includes six sophomores and one freshman. Despite the youth, this team promised to play solid hockey in the competitive OK Tier One conference. The Forest Hills Central (FHC) game got off to a slow start with the score at the end of the first period tied at zero. Early in the second period, the Rams’ Keegan Knight put the puck in the back of the net to take the early lead. Three minutes later, FHC evened the score. The Rams added two more as Mike VanderVelde and Thomas Soupal put the Rams up 3-1 to end the second period. In the third period, the Rams took control of the game with another goal by Soupal. FHC added one more goal midway through the third period to finalize the game at Rams 5, FHC 2. Rams goaltending duties were split between two sophomores, Jake Rekucki and Todd Millar, turning away 25 of the 27 shots they faced. The win advanced the Rams into the championship game against the always strong East Kentwood Falcons. The championship game found the Rams back on their heels, as East Kentwood and their hard-charging offensive attack controlled the early play. The Rams played tough, while solid goaltending kept all East Kentwood’s 18 first-period shots out of the net. The Rams made the most of their opportunities in the first period with Rockford goals by Knight and Zach Vandawater, assisted by Ben Glass, Soupal, and Erik Datema. East Kentwood went to the locker room for the first intermission surprised to be down 2-0. The second period began with a quick Ram goal by Justin Ullery, assisted by freshman Zach Schwandt and sophomore Nathan Hill. The goal put the Rams up 3-0. The Falcons finally got on the scoreboard with the first of what turned out to be three goals that period. Two minutes into the third period, East Kentwood scored, making it 4-3. Ram penalties in the third made it difficult for Rockford to overcome the high-powered offense of East Kentwood. The Falcons added two more goals later […]
The Rockford Rams varsity hockey team faced off against archrival and nemesis, the East Kentwood Falcons, on Wednesday, Feb. 24 on their home ice, and skated away with a hard-earned 4-3 victory. “This was a another true team effort that resulted in a well-deserved win for us. Everyone skated hard, played their positions and never let up. I’m very proud of the boys tonight. They earned it,” said Head Coach Ed Van Porfliet. The only scoring in the first period was a Falcons breakaway goal at the 1:42 mark, as they ran their cherry picker strategy the entire game and were able to get through on this one. Period two saw Rockford senior forward Eric Conroy even things up with a nice netter at the 13:17 mark, making it a tie game at 1-1. Assists came from senior defenseman Drake Veitenheimer and senior forward Jake Chaffee. The Rams roared back again, igniting a large and supportive crowd at the 11:19 mark with a beautiful goal from junior defenseman Eric Datema with the assist going to senior forward Cody Cantu. The Rams continued to pound away in the second when junior forward Ben Glass put one in the Falcons’ net, making it 3-1 Rams with 7:16 seconds left in the period. Assists went to Conroy and Chaffee. The action continued with East Kentwood coming back and capitalizing on the power play advantage, scoring at the 4:14 mark, and cutting the Rams’ lead back to one. The Ram charge continued in the second as Chaffee found the back of the Falcon net unassisted with 3:26 left to play, again putting the Rams up by two at 4-2 to close the period. The third period had the Rams’ penalty-killing unit work overtime, as Rockford took three penalties within seven minutes of each other, finally giving up a Falcons power play goal with 5:57 seconds left in the game, making it 4-3 Rams. Unfortunately for East Kentwood, they were hit with a taunting penalty after their score, putting the Rams on the power play. Good, solid, defensive skating combined with some breathtaking saves from junior goalie Taylor Newton was all Rockford needed to seal the victory at Rams 4, Falcons 3. On their last game of […]
On Friday night, Feb. 12, the Rockford Rams varsity hockey team played the East Grand Rapids Pioneers for the second time this season. And for the second time this season, Rockford skated away with a well-earned victory. The Rams beat the Pioneers decisively in their first meeting, and the expectation was East Grand Rapids (EGR) wanted a little revenge. However, that was not the case, as the Rams’ hard skating, smart play and solid teamwork earned them a 3-1 win. Although the first period seemed to have momentum a little more in EGR’s favor, it ended with neither team putting a puck in the net. Period two saw the Rams pick up the pace, as senior forward Noah Greco found the back of the Pioneers’ net at the 13:33 mark with an assist from junior forward Eric Datema, making it 1-0 Rams. Penalties followed and forced the Rams to play short-handed twice. However, the penalty kill unit gave the Pioneers nothing. After the penalties cleared on both sides, the Pioneers scored with 2:11 remaining, making it tie game at 1-1. The Rams were not done for the period and gained the lead back when senior Jake Chaffee scored at the 1:08 mark with a nice assist from senior forward Eric Conroy, closing the second period at 2-1 Rams. Third period action saw both teams fight hard to earn the win. The Rams answered the Pioneers’ pressure when Greco scored his second goal of the night at the 8:02 mark, assisted by senior forward Robert Perry. Although the Rams found themselves on the penalty kill again with 4:30 seconds remaining in the contest, hard defensive team play and excellent goaltending by senior Christian Van Portfliet kept the Pioneers scoreless and sealed the Rockford win, ending the contest at 3-1 Rams. The Rams’ next contest is Tuesday, Feb. 16 against Muskegon Catholic Central at Lakeshore Arena in Muskegon. Game time is 5:00 p.m.
Always a tough opponent, the Rams had to score early and often on the Sailors, and they did just that in the first period. Cantu put the Rams on the board first, scoring at the 13:19 mark with a nice setup assist from junior defenseman Mike VanderVelde, who also had a great night for the Rams, bringing his trademark rock solid defensive game. Less than three minutes later, Cantu found the net again at the 10:30 mark, giving the Rams a two-goal advantage. Assisting was senior defenseman Drake Veitenheimer. Although the Sailors cut the lead to one with a goal at the 9:16 mark, the Rams got the two-goal advantage back when Greco found the back of the Sailor net with 4:53 seconds left in the first to end the period 3-1 Rams. The assists went to junior forward Eric Datema and Cantu. Period two saw the Rams keep the pressure on and not let up. The Rams struck first to widen the lead on another Greco goal at the 13:45 mark, again assisted by Cantu, making it 4-1 Rams. The Sailors did manage a score with 6:05 left in the period. However, great goaltending by Christian Van Portfliet and constant pressure by all the Ram lines kept the game in check to end the second period at 4-2, Rams. The third period saw penalties on both teams, allowing Mona Shores to score on the power play at the 8:05 mark. However, Ram senior forward Jake Chaffee answered right back with a nice goal at the 6:05 mark, maintaining the Rams’ two-point advantage at 5-3. Senior forward Eric Conroy made the assist for Chaffee. From there the Rams kept up the pressure, skated hard and played smart hockey for the remainder of the game, even forcing the Sailors to commit two more penalties. This was enough to lock in a well-deserved Ram victory. The Rams’ next game is against the Grandville Bulldogs on Thursday, Feb. 4 at Southside Ice Arena. Game time is 7:00 p.m.
The Rams varsity hockey team split a pair of games last weekend, Jan. 8-9, at the annual Walker Classic. Although both were hard-fought games against very formidable opponents, the Rams lost their first game Friday night, Jan. 8, to the always tough and top-ranked Grandville Bulldogs 5-2. The first seven minutes of play started out well for the Rams, as they actually dominated play and puck control, keeping the game in the Bulldogs’ zone for what appeared to be a good match-up early on. However, the Bulldogs’ strong offensive fire power opened up at the nine-minute mark with a quick score to make it 0-1, Bulldogs. A Ram holding penalty with three minutes left in the period found the Rams down a player and on the penalty kill, allowing Grandville to score again at the 2:31 mark. Momentum was all Bulldogs for the remainder of the period as they got another one past Ram goalie Christian Van Portfliet 35 seconds later to end the period up on the Rams, 3-0. Period two had the Rams sharper, as senior forward Noah Greco found the back of the Bulldogs’ net at 8:19 into the period on a well-executed breakout pass play with senior forward Cody Cantu and senior defenseman Geoff Garman on the assist, finally putting the Rams on the scoreboard at 1-3. Unfortunately Grandville came right back two minutes later with another goal and maintained their three-point lead the remainder of the period. The third period saw good hard action from both teams with no scoring until the Bulldogs managed another score with 7:06 remaining, adding to their already strong lead at 5-1, Grandville. The Rams continued the hard fight the remainder of the game and fortunately managed another point as sophomore forward Ben Glass scored with 19 seconds left in the contest with assists from senior forward Cantu and junior forward Thomas Soupal, closing out the contest at Grandville 5, Rockford 2. Saturday, Jan. 9, had the Rams in the Walker Classic consolation game against the Kenowa Hills Knights, resulting in a well-deserved 7-4 Ram victory. The Rams came out fast-paced and hard-hitting in a game that belonged to junior forward Eric Datema, as he scored the hat trick for the Rams with 6:17 still […]