Rockford erases Grandville’s 2-0 lead, teams skate to 2-2 tie
Grand Rapids – It may have been a midseason makeup game because of a snow day last week, but the hockey game on Friday between Grandville and Rockford had a postseason feel to it.
Visiting Grandville came out strong and took advantage of some penalties by the Rams to build a one-goal lead heading into the final period.
But Rockford picked up its skating in the third and tied the game with just over 10 minutes to play in regulation on a solid goal from junior Jacob McNamara.
Neither team would find the back of the net the rest of the game, including the eight-minute overtime period, resulting in a 2-2 tie at Griff’s Icehouse.
“I thought the second half of the first period we finally got some tempo and things going,” said Grandville coach Joel Brezeale. “Then I thought our guys were very indiscipline in the second period and we gave up some odd-man rushes – kind of unfocused play by our forwards. In the third period we had our opportunities, we out-shot them 31-18, we just didn’t close our opportunities.”
The Bulldogs started to pepper Rockford goalie Brendan Coolbaugh in the second half of the first period. With just 1:19 to play in the first senior Brandon Rozema scored on the power play.
Grandville (10-2-2) made it 2-0 when junior Jake Baum scored at the 9:51 mark of the second period.
But that goal was answered less than a minute later when John Filipiak was finally able to get a puck past Grandville goalie Myles Madden. Jarrett Ullrey got the assist.
“We were in a little bit of a funk the last couple of games, we didn’t have our best performance Wednesday against (Muskegon) Mona Shores,” said Rockford coach Ed VanPortfliet. “That carried over in the first period, and Grandville certainly outplayed us in the first. We got better as the game went on, but then we ran in to some injuries, and we had to juggle some lines. And it was important when we got that goal right back when they went up 2-0.”
That goal did seem to energize Rockford (9-3-1) as it kept pressuring the Grandville zone for most of the second half of the game and overtime.
But like his counterpart in net on the other side of the rink, Madden made some great saves, until McNamara tied the game.
Both coaches acknowledged that a game like Friday can pay dividends as the postseason nears.
“This was a lesson for our guys,” Brezeale said. “Rockford has done a good job, they have had a solid season as we have so far, and I’m pleased with our kids, but what they have to understand that this was more of a playoff type game, and it comes down to good hard work and maybe not making that extra pass and putting it in the back of the net.”
“It was a gritty performance, I thought they played well tonight,” he said. “We had a lot of individual play early on, just like we had Wednesday, and today I thought we started to use each other a little more. We will need that later.”