FHC hockey falls short to rivals in a roller coaster game


In rivalry games, anything can happen. In it’s game against Northern-Eastern, the FHC hockey team experienced plenty of highs and lows.

The game seemed to have started out pretty even if not, more in favor of the Rangers; however, an early power play for the Bird-Dogs gave them an opportunity early in the game. The Rangers started the penalty kill well and it seemed as if they would be fine until a Northern-Eastern player was able to get the puck near the blue line and score as the time on the penalty kill was dwindling. Before the Rangers were able to go to the locker room and analyze the performance, FHNE netted another goal, which put the Rangers farther behind.

The beginning of the second didn’t see much change to the momentum of the game. Northern-Eastern was able to capitalize on a 5-3 power play that carried over from the 1st period. This caused the Rangers to trail 3-0 very early in the 2nd. Not too long after, the Northern-Eastern lead became 4-0 and all hope seemed to be lost to all but a few Ranger fans. Most of the student section left because they thought that the lead was too large for the Rangers to contest with; however, the boys weren’t down for the count quite yet.

The momentum of the game started to change which gave the Rangers some life. Sophomore Eli Lipke was able to net a goal toward the end of the 2nd period, putting the score at 4-1 in favor of Northern-Eastern. This seemed to light the Rangers’ flame that would continue to rage on for most of the game.

“I thought after we fell behind 4-0 we competed extremely well.  It was great to see the boys dig in and compete,” said coach McSween.

The 3rd period started quickly for the Rangers with a power-play goal by senior captain Sammy Mielock that put the Rangers back into the game. The Rangers continued to create chances and keep the puck in the Northern-Eastern zone, but struggled to put it in the back of the net. This was until assistant captain senior Anthony Ott was able to put the Rangers within one goal of the Bird-Dogs with 10 minutes left to find a tying goal. This was plenty of time for the Rangers to make it level with their rivals.

“When we got back to 3-4 I really believed we had a chance to win. Especially seeing what happened against GRC,” said freshman Hayden Tanner.

Unfortunately, the Rangers conceded a goal not too long after Ott’s. This put the game out of reach for the Rangers and the final score was 5-3 in the Bird-Dog’s favor.

This game, although tough, was able to show the Rangers some of their points of weakness. According to coach McSween, there were two main factors that played into the loss to Northern-Eastern, “Line changes and penalties killed us early on.  I actually liked our structure on the special teams, but we need to have cleaner line changes in the future,” said McSween.

3 of the 5 Northern-Eastern goals were scored on the power play, which further shows how much of a detriment they caused. The penalties that plagued the team were mainly a result of the intensity of a rivalry game. It was very apparent that this game meant a lot for both teams.

“The rivalry is something that we all look forward to in the season and something we work extra hard for to win it,” said junior Owen Barber. The extra work put in to win this game was seen throughout the course of the game, but mainly in the comeback efforts by the Rangers.

Although they worked as hard as possible, it wasn’t enough to get the win. This loss is tough for the Rangers but they don’t have time to dwindle on it because they have two more important games on the weekend. When asked how to recover from the tough loss, Owen said, “Keep grinding. Making sure that we keep our focus and intensity levels up in both practices and games is the best way to bounce back.”

The next two games could be pivotal in the Rangers’ season as we approach the halfway mark. To start the weekend, the Rangers will take on Jenison at Patterson Ice Center on Friday, January 6. The next day, they will face off against their rival, East Grand Rapids. This game will take place at Patterson Ice Center at three pm and could be a fierce match-up.