116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The goals will come as the experience increases.
The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders went into their United States Hockey League game Friday night at Green Bay having scored twice in their first three regular-season games. They’ve been able to win one of those despite the lack of offense, which is a good thing.
Coach Mark Carlson’s club has been built pretty much from scratch, considering the derecho-induced sabbatical it had to take last season. Only five guys have played any prior USHL games, including forward Adam Flammang, who got into just six last season with Sioux Falls.
The other “veterans” are forwards Nate Hanley, Doug Grimes, Yusako Ando and defenseman T.J. Schweigardt. None of them are on C.R.’s power-play units right now.
It’s going to take a little time for this whole thing to come together offensively.
“We’ve got a lot of new players, and they are working hard,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances. If we continue to work hard and generate chances, good things are going to happen.”
The RoughRiders dropped their only game last week, 3-0, to Waterloo. Carlson noted his team hit multiple goal posts with shots in that game and also pointed out that the Black Hawks didn’t score any five-on-five goals against his team.
It was two on the power play and an empty netter.
“For 40 minutes, I thought we played really well and competed hard for the majority of that game,” he said. “Right now, we are focused on our overall game. I think we hit a few pipes for sure the other night in our last game there, so we are just plugging away, working on all aspects of our game. That is kind of our approach right now.”
The coach said he has been happy very early with his team’s goaltending, as Connor Hasley and Bruno Bruveris have combined for a .937 save percentage. It is a scrappy bunch that leads the USHL in penalty minutes.
Now if the RoughRiders can just score some goals.
“We really like the group,” Carlson said. “Just kind of going through the early process of the season. Learning a lot about our team every time we play. We believe we have seen a lot of positives. We have been pretty happy with our play for a lot of the periods that we have played so far.”
Friday’s game is the only one of the week for Cedar Rapids. Its home opener is next Saturday, Oct. 16, against Des Moines.
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