For the first time in known school history, the boys varsity team for the Hudsonville Eagles have defeated the Rockford Rams.
This past weekend, the Rams hosted the final weekend tournament of regular season play, and the reseeding after the first round of play put the top ranked Rams together with second ranked Okemos and third ranked Eagles. The Rams and the Eagles were up first.
These two teams had meet three times prior this season. Each time ended with the Eagles coming close, but ultimately losing by two points.
It appeared that this meeting may be a repeat of the previous when Rockford took a 2-0 lead at the end of the first on the strength of junior Jack Sikkema’s outside shooting.
In the second quarter Hudsonville’s senior goalie Gerrit Bakker only allowed a single Rockford goal, while their offense got in two to end the half trailing by only a single goal 2-3.
The teams traded goals and defensive stops back and forth to end the third with Rockford still ahead by one point at 4-5.
The tide began to turn for the Eagles when senior Lucas Petzold drew a kick-out and senior Harrison Friar converted on the man advantage to tie the game. The next possession Rockford also managed to draw a kick-out, but the Eagles defense blocked the shot before reaching the goal. Back at the other end of the pool, and with the just over a minute left in regulation, senior Jason Dalman found the back of the goal with a cross-cage back hand from three meters out from the flat – giving the Eagles their first lead of the game.
With 37 seconds left in regulation play it was Rockford’s ball, and they had just drawn a 6-5 advantage and called a timeout. Rockford took three shots, and Baker blocked all three, finally ending up with possession and 8 seconds left on the clock.
Hudsonville took their final timeout to get setup and ran the clock for the final seconds to clinch their historic victory over the perennial power house of Rockford. They join Okemos as the only two teams in the state to have defeated the Rams this season.
“Solid team defense was a major contributing factor to the win,” said Hudsonville head coach Josh Ahrendt, “and limiting turnovers and exclusions.”
Leading that defensive effort was goalie Gerrit Baker who finished the night stopping 74% of Rockford’s shots heading for the goal. Seniors Wesley Fields, Lucas Petzold, and Caden Riegel all helped out Baker by supplying a field block of their own. They also had 6 different players contribute to a total of 15 steals with seniors Harrison Friar supplying 5, Austin Atwood with 4, Drew Boeve and Jason Dalman with 2 each, Caden Riegel added another, and freshmen Ian Worst contributing the remaining goal.
On the offensive side Dalman and Petzold both put up 2 goals followed by Friar and Riegel with 1 goal each. Austin Atwood and Drew Boeve lead the assists with 2 a piece, followed up by Dalman and Reigel each with 1.
Junior Jack Sikkema scored all 5 goals for the Rams.
3rd ranked Hudsonville finished the weekend 3-1 with wins over East Grand Rapids, (10) West Ottawa, (1) Rockford and a loss to (2) Okemos.
2nd ranked Okemos finished undefeated with victories over (7) Zeeland, (9) Grand Haven, (3) Hudsonville, and a shoot out victory over (1) Rockford.
Top ranked Rockford finished 2-2 with victories over Jenison and Birmingham Groves with loses to Hudsonville (3) and Okemos (2).