by GORDIE ANGUS Studying your opponent is a significant role of a coach to prepare the team going into every game. “We knew we have better depth than Grandville and we knew we could wear them down with our attack,” said Rockford Head Coach Ed Van Portfliet. Wear them down, they did. Just over three minutes from the start of the game on Saturday, Dec. 10, Rockford junior Stephen Shira lifted junior Austin Cantu’s rebounded shot to the top shelf of the net over the Bulldog net-minder to start the scoring. The assist went to senior Keegan Knight. The Rams continued the attack and set the pace of the game. Less than two minutes later, a heavy pressure forecheck by junior Blake Erhart and senior Justin Ullrey put the puck into position for junior Nate Hill to beat the goalie and score his team-leading third goal of the season. Assists on the goal went to Erhart and Ullrey. With 6:10 left in the opening frame, junior Hunter Angus forced a turnover in the Rockford zone. He took the puck just inside Grandville’s zone and fired a quick shot to beat the Bulldog goaltender over the right shoulder. Rockford outshot Grandville in the opening period 15-5. Rams junior goaltender Jake Rekucki thwarted all Bulldog scoring chances, turning away all shots and not giving up rebounds. The Rams went to the locker room with a solid 3-0 lead. A scoreless second period would be considered a success for Rockford. “During the intermission, we reminded the guys that we have recently been in this position with a two- or three-goal lead, only to give it up in the following period,” said Van Portfliet. “Our goal for the period was not to protect the lead, but to keep the pressure on and extend the lead.” Rockford continued their dominant play, outshooting Grandville 8-2 in the period. Back in the locker room before the start of the third period, the message was similar to the last. “Keep the pressure on and continue to do the little things right,” noted Van Portfliet. “Our line changes in the second period were a bit sloppy and needed to be better in the third.” The Rams continued their pressure against a much more determined […]
Rockford High School Hockey
The Great American Rivalry Series is sponsored by United States Marine Corps. They started out nationally highlighting football games, but this year marks the inaugural season of ice hockey in the series. Select schools from around the nation are invited to participate in the Rivalry Series. These schools have always had “their game”—a traditional rivalry going back many years. Thousands of players have participated in this memorable event, and every year the rivalry creates its own special memories. It is “the game” the whole community looks forward to and talks about all year long. The Rivalry Series not only celebrates high school football and now hockey, it embraces its excitement, traditions and history. A donation is given to the host team for their football/hockey program as well as two college scholarships awarded to a player from each team in the rivalry. The Great American Rivalry Series strives to preserve the integrity of amateur sports and to bring “every player” something to remember for the rest of their life. One of these Rivalry Series ice hockey games was the Rockford Rams versus East Kentwood Falcons on Wednesday, Feb. 24, on Rockford’s home ice. The Rams prevailed, winning 4-3. The Rams were presented the Great American Rivalry Series cup, and the Rams’ Jake Chaffee was selected to receive the college scholarship for having the highest grade-point average of the team—a 4.02.