Thomas Soupal

Rockford hockey loses nail biter

March 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

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 […]

Rockford hockey battles conference champs to end

March 3, 2011 // 0 Comments

Friday night, Feb. 25, the Rockford varsity hockey team took on the Cougars from Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the final regular season finale for both teams. Catholic Central, the top ranked team in the west side of the state, chose this night as their Senior Night celebration. They have a veteran squad this year, as they are graduating 12 seniors, and have had a great season with only one blemish during conference play this year. So this game was going to be a tremendous test for the Rams as they prepare for the post season. It was apparent that the Rams came out wanting to prove that they have improved dramatically since the last time these two teams played. The Cougars are a very quick team, but Rockford was there at every turn to pressure the puck and frustrate the high-powered Cougar offense. About five minutes into the game, one of the very quick Catholic Central forwards did get behind the defense and was able to get on the scoreboard with a quick shot over goaltender Jake Rekucki’s shoulder into the net. Rockford continued to pound away, getting a couple quality scoring chances in the first, but was unable to light the lamp. At the 6:24 mark, Catholic Central went up 2-0 with another great shot into the Rockford net. Both teams traded scoring chances for the rest of the period and went to their locker rooms with the score, Cougars 2 and Rockford 0. Rockford came out in the second, ratcheting up the pressure on the Catholic Central goaltender, but he continued to turn away each of their shots. The game continued the fast pace with both teams displaying a high level of play. Midway through the period, Catholic Central scored an even-strength goal to go up 3-0. The Cougars shortly came back with another goal less than a minute later to go up 4-0. It would have been easy for the Rams to give up at that point. But proudly, Rockford had nothing to do with giving up, and the last few minutes of the second period were controlled by the Rams. It appeared that they had something to build upon going into the third period. Both teams came out in the […]

Rockford varsity hockey takes second in season opener tournament

December 2, 2010 // 0 Comments

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 […]

Rams hockey splits pair at Walker Classic

January 14, 2010 // 0 Comments

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 […]