Riders win home opener behind McLaughlin's 2 goals

Dylan McLaughlin
Dylan McLaughlin

CEDAR RAPIDS – Dylan McLaughlin played on the USHL’s worst team last season. He’s on what appears to be one of its better ones now, and apparently loves it.

The center already has more goals than a season ago after scoring twice last night in the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders’ 5-2 win over Fargo. A crowd of 1,897 celebrated the home opener at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

“Decent game,” said RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson.

McLaughlin, 17, was acquired in the offseason in a trade from Sioux Falls, where he was forced into a full-time role despite perhaps not being completely ready for it. He had a goal and six assists in 48 games for a club that finished with the fewest team points in the league.

A change of scenery has produced a change in production. McLaughlin scored from a bad angle late in the first period for the game’s first goal, then put the Riders (2-0) ahead for good with a power-play roofer to the stick side of Fargo goaltender Brendan Jensen midway through the second.

“Sioux Falls had a totally different game style,” said McLaughlin, from Lancaster, N.Y. “I like Cedar Rapids because this is more my style of game. I think it’s really helped me. My game has improved already throughout preseason up to now. I love it here so far.”

“He’s got very good ability, good vision, good hockey sense,” Carlson said. “With improved strength, weight training and all those types of things, his better days are ahead of him. And that’s a compliment.”

Cedar Rapids appeared in midseason form with the man advantage, going 2 for 5 and being dangerous all night. Defenseman Gavin Bayreuther also scored a power-play goal and has three goals in his team’s first two games.

“We used a lot of people,” Carlson said. “We’re trying to use a lot of people right now, giving them opportunities. The puck movement was pretty good.”

Landon Smith and Eetu Karvinen also had goals for the RoughRIders, who host Youngstown tonight at 7:05. They limited Fargo (1-1) to just 15 shots on goal, including nine the first two periods.

When you are limiting opponents to that few of shots, you’re going to win a lot of hockey games. Chad Catt was the victor in goal.

Here is a link to the game boxscore: