CEDAR RAPIDS — There are good points, and this was a good point.
No, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders didn’t complete the comeback, falling to the mighty Green Bay Gamblers in a shootout, 4-3, before 2,716 green-clad fans on St. Patrick’s Day night at The Stable. But that they found enough inner strength to rally from three goals down after the first period and get a standings point is the most important thing here.
“I’m proud of our guys,” said RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson. “We battled back and did a good job. It would have been great to get the two, but it was big to get the one point here Saturday night. We’ll keep improving here in practice this week.”
Alex Broahurst and Kyle Novak scored in the best-of-three shootout to improve Green Bay’s gaudy USHL-best point total to 84. That’s on an amazing 42-8-2 record.
Cedar Rapids (22-19-10, 54 points) is the only team to beat the Gamblers twice this season, and they nearly made it three here. In fact, the RoughRiders have picked up six standings point this season against Green Bay, losing twice in a shootout.
The Riders have lost a league-high 10 times in overtime or shootout.
“It’s an inch here or there,” Carlson said. “I’m not sure how it breaks down, as far as overtime losses and shootout losses, but I don’t think it’s any one thing. We’re certainly not going to dwell on it. Just keep playing and keep getting better.”
The RoughRiders outplayed Green Bay most of the first period, but still found themselves down three goals. Those three goals came in a span of 2:14 late in the period.
Alex Kile scored first at 15:29, after teammate Kyle Novak stripped Riders defenseman John Gilmour from behind deep in the Cedar Rapids zone and fed him a perfect pass. Alex Broadhurst scored at 17:13, then Grant Arnold 30 seconds later.
It seemed the first goal led to the second goal, which led to the third goal, as far as defensive breakdowns by the Riders.
“The tone was real positive (in between periods),” Carlson said. “No raising of voices. It was just ‘Hey, just get out and play.’ We had about a two-and-half minute lapse, but we can climb back in this. Anybody can sit here and be negative, but we’re not going to do that. Let’s just get out, get after it and chip away.”
Gerald Mayhew’s power-play goal 57 seconds into the second period seemed to energize Cedar Rapids. It played some of its best hockey of the season after that, getting defenseman Blake Butzow’s first USHL goal (a centering pass that deflected off the stick of a Green Bay defender) at 8:25, then Thomas Forgione’s game-tying tally 41 seconds later on a rebound after an odd-man rush.
The Stable was up for grabs.
Here is the gamesheet:Gamesheet Green Bay at Cedar Rapids - Sat, Mar 17, 2012