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Rockford beats Grandville to advance to first-ever state semifinal

Rams score two short-handed goals in the third
Rockford hockey advances to state semifinals
Posted at 9:58 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 23:15:38-04
Rockford 4, Grandville 3

The Rockford hockey team trailed throughout the game on Wednesday night against Grandville in the state quarterfinal at Ewigleben Arena at Ferris State University.

Easton Pratt put Grandville in front, 1-0 just one minute into the game before Brendan Bourne added a late first period goal to extend the lead to 2-0 at first intermission.

In the second period, the Rams would claw back a bit as senior Owen Devries and junior William Haggerty scored while the Bulldogs found the back of the net once more on a deflection from Brayden Moll.

It'd be 3-2 Grandville at the second intermission.

That's when Rockford head coach CJ Pobur gave his team a speech in the locker room.

"It sounds crazy, but I told them, 'We're going to get the third goal, we're going to get the fourth goal, we're going to win this hockey game,'" he said after the game.

And that's exactly what happened.

Despite being short-handed for several minutes in the third period, including a pair of 5-on-3 stints, the Rams battled.

With just nine minutes left in regulation, Haggerty found the puck in front of the Grandville net, hesitated and buried it to tie the game at three.

And minutes later, senior Carson Korte would receive the puck ahead, skate wide and go five-hole for the go-ahead goal at 4-3 with just over four minutes remaining.

A late penalty for the Bulldogs would help the Rams seal the win late as the players spilled over the boards to celebrate the biggest win in program history, 4-3 the final.

"This team just made history," Pobur said after the game, "this is the biggest win we've ever had, we've never made it past the state quarterfinals, this is a goal we've had for five years and I couldn't be prouder."

And Korte recalled the game-winner that is sending his team to USA Arena for the first time.

"I knew right when I got the puck that I was skating wide and going five hole on him, that's what I saw and I executed," he added.

The Rams will take on Mid-Michigan on Friday at 4:30 PM in the state semifinal.