Rams take Generals to seven games
By Glen Mazza
During the 2021-22 schedule, the Rocky Rams started strong, struggled midseason and finished strong in the playoffs in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Rams knocked off the Sylvan Lake Wranglers in a best-of-three series on Feb. 19.
The series victory earned the Rams a berth in the division semi-finals against the Cochrane Generals.
The Rocky Rams had a regular season .416 winning percentage compared to the Generals with .819. The Rocky team was considered the underdogs, but took the North Division leaders to a seventh and deciding game.
After going 2-1 in the first three games, the Rams lost game four in Rocky by a score of 7-1 on Feb. 22. The Rams put up 51 penalty minutes compared to 45 minutes for the Generals who had four powerplay goals. Defenceman Kyle Humphrey had the only goal and assists went to Silas Buijs and Caleb Andrew.
With the series tied at two games each, the Rams won on the road on Feb. 24. Making the scoresheet were Tristan Hoffus (1g, 1a), Reid Christiansen (1a), Cale Stecyk (2g), Kolby Mccurrach (1a), and Nick Jervis (1g, 1a). Zaiden Hansen stopped 33 of 35 shots for the victory.
The Rams came in to the weekend with a 3–2 record.
For the sixth game in front of a full house at the Bunch Arena on Feb. 25, the Rams had difficulty getting many shots on Generals goalie Davyn Larocke. Cochrane dominated with puck possession and outshot the Rams by a margin of 53–28. The home team also got into some penalty trouble with 60 minutes compared with 26 minutes for the Generals.
Cochrane took the game by a 7–1 score. Caleb Andrew scored the lone goal for the Rams and he was assisted by Silas Buijs and Quinn Tomalty.
Cochrane goalie Davyn Larocke had a strong game. His teammates Patrick Forde and Tristan Ripplinger both had three-point nights.
The deciding game was played in Cochrane on Sunday afternoon. The Rams were outshot 48-15. The Generals won the game 6–1. Nick Jervis scored the only goal for Rocky and assists were earned by Silas Buijs and Grady Mofford.
Several Generals players had multi-point games. Jordan Marks had three points (1g, 2a), Patrick Forde had two (1g, 1a), Andrew Guss had two assists and Riley Hopper had two goals.
Generals goaltender Davyn Larocke had the win and Zaiden Hansen was in net for the Rams loss.
Head coach Wendell Mason talked about the season and the playoff run.
“We have a very young core group of players who are 18 and 19 year-olds. It took them 15 to 20 games in the regular season to hit their stride,” he explained. By Christmas the team was playing well.
The team surpassed expectations during the playoffs by beating Sylvan Lake and taking Cochrane to seven games.
“We were the underdog and gave them a run to the end. It was good for our organization and good for the town,” said Mason.
He expects many of the players to be back next season and a group that is capable of putting up wins.
The players filled their roles very well – whether in their own zone, on offense or on special teams. Some of the standout players were goalie Zaiden Hansen, forward Nick Jervis and defenceman Grady Mofford. After joining the league partway through the season, Mofford was able to move all the way up to second for scoring by a defenceman.
Mason also praised the fans who filled the local arena as wells as outnumbering fans in Sylvan’s building. There was also great group of fans who travelled to Cochrane.