Hockey defeats Mattawan in first round of playoffs 3-1


An early Tuesday game opened up the Rangers postseason, as the boys faced off against Mattawan in round one of the playoffs. They came into the game with a bitter taste in their mouths after losing their previous game to Rockford by a score of 8-4. Not only did they lose the game, but they also lost sophomore sensation Sammy Mielock after he was called for his third fighting penalty in the third period, earning him a two-game suspension right before playoffs. In terms of Mattawan, they came into the game with a record of 4-9-1 and have seemed to struggle as of late.

The first period would see the scorebook remain dry, as no goals were scored between both teams. Led by senior Collin Ward, juniors Lucas Jefferys, Connor Defouw, and Josh Smith, the defensive line for the Rangers, along with senior goalie Gavin Brady, completely shut down the Mattawan offense. Brady stopped 20 shots on the night, and both lines of powerplay defense held Mattawan scoreless on their three chances.

In the second period, both teams created very efficient offenses that paved a path for each team to find the net. Mattawan’s Ethan Hogarth fired in Mattawan’s first and last goal of the game, while sophomore Anthony Ott filled his stat sheet with 2 goals in the period. Both junior Noah Smith and senior captain Jacob Campbell could be credited on the night for assists, as these two made top-notch passes throughout the game.

Going into the third period, the Rangers held onto a 2-1 lead until senior Xavier Ott scored the game-ending goal after also earning one assist on his brother’s goal earlier. In the end, the final score of the contest was 3-1 in favor of the Rangers.

With a playoff win in their back pocket, the Rangers improve to 6-10 on the year and will look forward to a third rivalry matchup against the East Grand Rapids Pioneers this Thursday, March 18th at Southside Ice Rink.