The Rockford Rams Varsity Hockey Club have entered the final month of the regular season. Last week the Ice Rams faced three tough opponents in preparation for the MHSAA playoffs that begin in a few weeks.
On Wednesday, Feb. 6, Rockford traveled to Patterson Ice Center to battle a quality Forest Hills N/E squad. FHNE took the early lead on a powerplay score. Rockford answered as Brendan Bach (assisted by Ethan McCormack and Ryker Christian) lit the lamp late in the opening period. Rockford made it 3-1 with two second-period goals: Aidan Hoffman (assisted by Kevin Healy and Michael Bedford) scored five minutes into the middle frame and Cade Baumgardner (assisted by Healy and Dan Sokol) tallied a goal two minutes later. FHNE would not go away quietly, scoring three goals in five-minute span late in the third period to take a 4-3 lead. In dramatic fashion the Rams would tie the game with one second to go on the clock: McCormack (assisted by Bach and Dayton Perroud) would get credit for the score. After a scoreless OT period, the two teams settled for the 4-4 tie. Zac Sherman was in net for the Rams.
On Friday, Feb. 8, Rockford traveled to Chelsea for game one of the Michigan Public HS Hockey Showcase against the #5 ranked team in the state, Rochester United. RU scored first, five minutes into the opening period. It wasn’t until midway through the third period that Rockford would net the equalizer: Bach (assisted by Christian) made it 1-1 with just under ten minutes to play. This game would also end regulation play in a tie, this time 1-1. Per MPHSH Showcase rules the winner would be determined in a shootout, and it was RU outdueling Rockford in the tiebreaker session to secure the win, which went into the books with a 2-1 score. Sherman took the defeat for Rockford.
On Saturday, Feb. 9, the Rams played a matinee tilt against Novi in the second game of the MPHSH Showcase. The Rams came out flat, surrendering the first three goals of the game within the first 7-1/2 minutes of the first period. The Rams made it interesting with a pair of powerplay tallies in the second period: Sokol (assisted by Healy and Hoffman) and Kyle Switzer (assisted by Healy) cut the lead to 3-2. The Rams, however, couldn’t complete the comeback; Novi scored the only goal in the third period to secure the 4-2 win. Sherman started the game and took the loss for Rockford; Caleb Keely played 2-1/2 periods relieving Sherman midway through the first period.
The Rams (14-6-1 overall) now look to get back on track as the regular season winds down. On Saturday, Feb. 16, Rockford will host OK Rue rival GR Catholic Central in a 5pm contest at Griff’s Ice House. Sixteen Rockford seniors and their parents will be honored in a pre-game ceremony: goalies Zac Sherman and Caleb Keely; defensemen Aidan Hoffman, Michael Bedford, Cody Smith, Alex Jones, Taylon Raghib and Eliot VanPelt; and forwards Cade Baumgardner, Kevin Healy, Dan Sokol, Ethan McCormack, Brendan Bach, Hunter Dakin, Braden Dahlke, and Blake Jackson. Rockford students will be admitted free, with student ID and can enjoy free pre-game pizza. Several giveaways will be announced during the contest. On Monday, Feb. 18, the Rams travel to Holland to play OK Rue opponent West Ottawa at Griff’s West. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 p.m. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the Ice Rams will host GR Christian in a 5:30pm tilt at Cedar Rock Sportsplex. Rockford students will be admitted free, with student ID.
Follow the Ice Rams online at RockHockey.org or on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.