The Rams celebrate after a goal against West Catholic. ~ Photo by Sheila Bach
By Tim Baumgardner
The Rockford Rams Varsity Hockey Club earned a couple big wins over the Thanksgiving Weekend and claimed the Griff’s Holiday Classic championship. Rockford defeated Reeths Puffer in round one, 6-1. In the championship game, the Rams downed West Catholic, 8-0.
On Friday, Nov. 23, the Ice Rams battled OK Rue Division rival Reeths Puffer. Brendan Bach opened the scoring (unassisted), netting the only goal in the first period. The floodgates opened in the second period, as Rockford scored four times in the middle session: Tommy Schwandt (assisted by Bach and Dayton Perroud), Kevin Healy on the powerplay (assisted by Aidan Hoffman and Dan Sokol), Cade Baumgardner, shorthanded (assisted by Schwandt and Hoffman), and Sokol on the powerplay (assisted by Healy and Hoffman). Reeths Puffer scored their only goal of the game early in the third period. Sokol scored the final goal (assisted by Baumgardner and Braden Dahlke) late in the game. Netminder Zac Sherman earned the win for Rockford. Final score: Rockford 6, Reeths Puffer 1.
On Saturday, Nov. 24, Rockford faced West Catholic for the tournament hardware. Rockford dominated from the start. Sokol (assisted by Healy and Baumgardner) opened the scoring. Late in the first period, Blake Jackson netted his first goal as a Rockford Ram (assisted by Dahlke and Sokol) to make it 2-0. In the second period, the Rams would score four more goals: Hunter Dakin (assisted by Kyle Switzer), Sokol (assisted by Healy), Sokol again, netting his hat trick goal on the powerplay (assisted by Healy and Baumgardner), and Bach (assisted by Michael Bedford and Sokol). In the third period, Baumgardner netted a powerplay goal (assisted by Healy) and with 11:38 to go in the game it was Baumgardner again (assisted by Sokol and Healy) to end the game, per MHSAA mercy rules. Goaltender Caleb Keely earned the shutout and his first victory as a Ram. Final score: Rams 8, West Catholic 0.
~ Photo by Sheila Bach
Rams Head Coach CJ Pobur had this to say about the team’s weekend performance, “I’m happy with the offensive outburst, and even happier about only one goal against in two games. The coaching staff has done our best to have a defense-first focus, and the boys have responded well. Every time there was a breakdown on the ice, the goaltenders were there to do their job. I am proud of our progress and look forward to our next challenges in the coming week. It will be a good test of our ability to be consistent.”
Next up, on Friday, Nov. 30, the Ice Rams will host East Kentwood at Griff’s Ice House. Puck-drop is slated for 6 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 1, Rockford will battle OK Rue Division foe West Ottawa at Griff’s House Ice. Puck drop for this contest is 5pm. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the Rams will square off against OK Rue Division rival Grandville for an 8 p.m. tilt, also at Griff’s Ice House.
Follow the Ice Rams online at RockHockey.org or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Go Rams!