The Grand Rapids Christian Eagles played .500 hockey during the regular season, posting a 11-11-4 record. They began their journey through the Division 2 Playoffs on Monday night against Portage Central, who also finished the year at 11-11. These two teams won the same amount of games, but they never faced off during the regular season. In fact, they had only one common opponent (Flint Powers Catholic), yet they still squared off in the first round of the Division 2 Region 11 bracket. Scoring was at a premium early in this one, but an explosive third period proved to be the difference for the Eagles, as they scored three unanswered goals to emerge victorious 4-1.
In the first period, Grand Rapids Christian outshot Portage Central 14-3, but they only capitalized once, taking a 1-0 lead. The second period saw a similarly impressive ratio of shots, GRC outshot the Mustangs 12-6, but this time it was Portage Central who found the net to even the score at 1-1. In the third period, Grand Rapids Christian scored three goals on 11 shots, compared to zero goals on five shots for Portage Central. In total, the Eagles outshot the Mustangs 37-14 on Monday night.
Just two Eagles found the net on Monday night, and they were the two most unsurprising players. Ashton Bol scored a pair of goals on four shots, and team goals leader Graham Kormash took eleven shots to get his pair of goals. There were seven total assists awarded on these goals, and they were distributed amongst five players. Joey Hildebrand and Jack Zwiers each had two assists for the Eagles, while Kormash, Jake Noordewier and Chris Boyd all tallied one assist.
In net tonight, Zack Dodson stopped 93% of the shots he faced (13 of 14) to get a key playoff win for the Eagles. With the win, the Eagles advance to Wednesday’s regional semifinal. They will take on West Catholic, who enters the contest with an 8-16 record. This game will take place at approximately 8:00 on Wednesday night at Griff’s Ice House. It will take place following the completion of the other Region 11 semifinal between Forest Hills N/E and Portage Northern, which starts at 6:00 PM. The winners of those semifinals will meet in the regional finals on Friday at Griff’s Ice House at 7:00 PM.