The Russell Rams' finished off their regular season this past weekend with a 5-1 win against Foxwarren. That win pushed the team to 15-0-0-1 and extended their winning streak to 15 games after opening their season with an overtime loss.
The Rams' have several solid contributors to the team's success, including Russell's Rylee Zimmer who pitched in one goal and three assists in that win against Foxwarren.
"It's been a lot of fun, everyone is having fun," said Zimmer. "We have a pretty good hockey team with a lot of guys that have played at high levels. We're also pretty much all hometown guys which is obviously a great thing for the community and everyone involved."
The four-point night added to Zimmer's already stellar season offensively. He finished with 38 points which is just two behind his teammate, Brock Nixon who was named the NCHL's MVP. All in all, Rylee was third in league scoring in his rookie season.
Thanks to his success, Rylee has been named to the NCHL's second all-star team ahead of the playoffs.
"It's an accomplishment for sure," added Zimmer. "I'm not really worried about though, I'm just trying to go out there to help the team win games. We have a group of guys that love to have fun but we're also really competitive and we want to win at the end of the day."
Zimmer and the Rams' are now getting set for the first round of the playoffs. After winning a one-game play in series, the club begins a best of three with the Shoal Lake Eagles. Game one goes on Friday while game two is on Saturday. If needed, game three is slated for Sunday.
"This is a year we're certainly looking at winning that championship," said Zimmer. "We've worked really hard all season to get home-ice advantage."
Rylee has been oh so close to winning a title for the past three seasons in a row. Back in the 2015-16 season, he played in the SJHL final with the Flin Flon Bombers but came up short. He stayed on the Bombers for the next season and once again advanced to the Canalta Cup final but came up short again.
Zimmer started last season with Melville before being traded to Portage. Despite producing 17 points in 16 games with Portage, Rylee was traded to the Virden Oil Capitals. The Oil Capitals went on to advance to the Turnbull Cup final where they came up short against the Steinbach Pistons.
Although advancing to the finals in the NCHL is a couple series wins away, Rylee's hoping that the fourth time is a charm to raise the trophy.
"It would be pretty relieving if I can finally get over that hump and win a title," said Zimmer. "We were up 2-0 in the finals last year and lost so that definitely hurt. I think it's just about going out and playing good solid hockey and not worrying about the past."
"I just want to be able to help this team win it all and I think my past experiences will help us," he added.