'Bobby! Bobby!': Former fan favorite Bobby Goepfert returns to C.R. for HOF induction

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Shaking his head, Bobby Goepfert summed up Saturday night this way.

“It seems like another life ago,” he said.

The former Cedar Rapids RoughRiders goaltending great was inducted with former teammate Chris Snavely into the team’s hall of fame before a 6-1 loss to Waterloo at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. They join Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader as former Riders to be feted.

Snavely was a defenseman for Cedar Rapids, playing the first four seasons of the franchise’s history. He went on to play collegiately at Michigan State and three years in pro hockey.

Goepfert just retired after a long pro career that included six years in Germany. He still remembers the chants of ‘Bobby! Bobby’ from The Stable crowd after making big save after big save.

The 33-year-old was the United States Hockey League’s goaltender of the year in 2002, helping Cedar Rapids to the playoffs for the first time in 2001, then helping it win a playoff series for the first time a season later.

“Kind of a trip down memory lane,” Goepfert said. “I haven’t come back as often as I’d have liked. For me, I think the last time I was here was right after college. That’s twice in 15 years. Time goes really fast.”

Goepfert has returned back home to Long Island, where he shares a home with his wife and two young children. He hopes to get back into the game in some form next season.

“So many memories,” he said. “Driving from the airport to the hotel, driving through town, it was like ‘I used to eat here. I used to have dinner with the guys here. Went on dates here.’ It was all the growing up part. When you are 17, 18 years old, that’s an important part of your life. It’s the maturing part. Just cool to be back. Cool to see Coach (Mark) Carlson.”

The game was not quite as good. Waterloo scored twice in the second period to take a lead for good.

T.J. Walsh had C.R.’s lone goal, that coming in the first period, just 30 seconds after Waterloo’s Kevin Charyszyn scored the first goal of the game. Charyszyn was involved in an interesting exchange midway through the third period with Dalton Messina of the RoughRiders.

Zac Robbins of Cedar Rapids was assessed a five-minute boarding penalty and game misconduct for a hit on Waterloo’s Mikey Anderson. Robbins was chirped by Waterloo players as he exited the ice, with Messina — standing on his team’s bench — suddenly rushing to the separator between the benches and reaching across Waterloo’s side to grab Charyszyn by the jersey.

Both were given 10-minute misconducts. Messina said he was set off by something Charyszyn said about Robbins.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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