MUSKEGON — The Reeths-Puffer hockey team is set for big-time accomplishments this year, the 14th season for varsity coach Eric Sikkenga.
The Rockets finished with a 14-12-1 record last season, third place in Tier Two of the O-K Conference, before falling in the pre-regional final to Rockford in double overtime.
While Reeths-Puffer graduated some key contributors, including Cameron Fowler, John Snyder, Keith Robbins, Michael Berge and Doug Grevious, there is plenty of talent coming back and the Rockets are expecting to be among the favorites to win Tier Two this year, along with Kenowa Hills and Grandville, the latter of which drops from Tier One for the season.
“All of them played key roles on our team,” Sikkenga said. “It’s going to be tough to fill those five but we do have a lot of players coming in.”
Among the players Sikkenga singled out as being key to the Rockets’ success this year were Dean Griffin and defensemen Jeremy Joyce, Casey Trautner, Rogan McEvoy and Nathan Cregg, as well as goalies Aaron Andrews and Jared Erickson. However, “we’re pretty solid with a lot of players that can play,” Sikkenga said. “We are looking for a balanced effort this year.”
The Rockets will look to attack offensively using its talent and speed on the edge. Sikkenga said his defenseman can also contribute to the offense, but he doesn’t want to see them surrendering shots on goal.
Reeths-Puffer begins its season with a home game at Lakeshore Sports Center Wednesday night against West Ottawa.
“Every night we’re playing good teams in the O-K (conference),” Sikkenga said. “We’ll see how that shakes out.”