Mike VanderVelde

Rockford hockey fights back, comes up just short of FHN

February 3, 2011 // 0 Comments

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 skaters split games at Big Rapids holiday tournament

January 7, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Rams hockey team opened the Big Rapids holiday tournament with an afternoon contest against the Jackson Lumen Christi Titans at Ferris State University ice arena. The Titans scored first on a screened shot from the point that Rockford senior goalie Christian VanPortfliet never had a chance on. Rockford answered less than three minutes later when junior Thomas Soupal poked in a loose puck off a scramble in front of the Jackson net. The goal was assisted by Erik Datema and junior Zach King. The teams battled hard, exchanging chances until King scored on a beautiful backhand shot from a bad angle, giving the Rams the lead. The goal was assisted by Soupal and Datema. The Titans evened it at 2-2 with 36 seconds left in the second period with a power play goal on a tipped shot from the point. The Rams again took the lead on a goal from Eric Conroy with an assist from Noah Greco. Jackson again evened it up on yet another power play goal midway through the third. The Rams went ahead for good with senior Alex Fox blasting a one-timer off a great pass from Soupal past the Titan goalie. Senior Jake Chaffee added an empty-net goal to put the game away. The win put the Rams into the championship game against the Big Rapids Cardinals, who defeated Wyandotte/Roosevelt in overtime. The championship game began with Big Rapids scoring late in the first period after both teams fought hard throughout the opening period. As the second period opened, Big Rapids forward Seth Adams picked up a turnover and scored on a breakaway, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. The Rams kept battling and cut the lead to one with Chaffee banging in a rebound off a shot by Greco just after the Rams had killed off a Big Rapids power play. The lead stayed at one only due to a great save by goalie VanPortfliet with just 25 seconds left in the second period.   The Rams fought hard in the third period, but were unable to get one past the Big Rapids goalie. Big Rapids won 2-1. Rockford seniors Eric Conroy and Robert Perry were both recognized with awards for outstanding play for both games.