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Corridor Cross Checks: The opening 2022-23 edition
Record crowd in Coralville, 3-point weekend for Cedar Rapids
CEDAR RAPIDS — With both hockey clubs representing the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor underway with their respective regular seasons, it’s time for the first 2022-23 edition of Corridor Cross Checks.
We’ll take a weekly look at the professional Iowa Heartlanders of the ECHL and the junior Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League.
What’s happening with each team, how they are trending, what’s coming up, everything you’ll need will be right here. As always, we’ll continue with separate feature stories on players, coaches and others involved with the clubs.
So let’s dive right in.
First, the good news.
The club’s announced attendance of 4,176 fans for Friday night’s season opener at Xtream Arena was a franchise high. It topped the crowd of 4,017 for the team’s inaugural regular-season game last October.
Now, the bad news. The Heartlanders dropped both games to the Idaho Steelheads: 6-2 on Friday night and 6-4 on Saturday night.
Idaho ran out to a 3-0 first-period lead Friday night. The Steelheads outshot the Heartlanders by a 42-29 margin and got a hat trick from Ryan Dmowski.
Matthew Boucher and Kevin Conley had Iowa’s goals.
Idaho again had a big first period Saturday, rolling to a 5-1 lead. The Heartlanders did close within 5-4 on a goal from Jake Smith with 1:17 to go, but an empty-net goal a few seconds later closed the deal for the Steelheads.
Smith had a pair of goals in the game for Iowa, with Boucher and Zach White netting the others. Hunter Jones, who took the loss in goal on opening night, relieved starter C.J. Motte in the first period Saturday night and stopped 18 of 19 shots he faced.
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
It was a three-point weekend for the Riders, who beat Green Bay at ImOn Ice, 4-2, Friday night and lost to the Gamblers in overtime, 2-1, Saturday night.
Zaccharya Wisdom, Dylan Hryckowian and Connor Smith had first-period goals for Cedar Rapids on Friday, which built a 3-0 lead. Hryckowian’s second of the game, late in the second period, made it a 4-1 game.
Bruno Bruveris got the win in net, making 23 saves.
The RoughRiders outshot Green Bay again Saturday night, 32-24, but Eli Sebastian’s goal with 1:06 left in OT gave the Gamblers the victory. Sam Scopa played well in net for Cedar Rapids.
Jacob Kraft’s first USHL goal opened the scoring in the game for Cedar Rapids in the second period. The RoughRiders are 3-4-2 in nine games for eight standings points, which places them sixth out of eight teams in the USHL’s Eastern Conference.
They have won two of their last three games and picked up a standings point in four of their last five games.
“The team is improving day by day, for sure,” RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson said. “That’s always how we operate, as you know. Each and every week, we have been getting better. We are seeing improvements from our first-year guys, our second-year guys. Both of our goalies played well last weekend.
“I really do feel we are improving every day, and we are optimistic about that. The new additions to our team have made a positive impact, all of them. And we have injured players waiting in the wings that will give us a boost when we get them back. We’re excited about this team.”
In the last couple of weeks or so, Cedar Rapids acquired forwards Tyson Gross (from Fargo) and Arvega Hovsepyan (from Tri-City) in trades and added defenseman Joel Kjellberg and Bryce Montgomery to the roster, Montgomery from major junior London of the Ontario Hockey League in Canada.
You’re going to have to travel to see either team.
The RoughRiders play only once, and that is Saturday night against the Des Moines Buccaneers in Urbandale. The next home game for Cedar Rapids is Nov. 4 against the Bucs.
The Heartlanders have one of those grueling three-in-three road trips in three different cities. The club plays Friday night against the Kalamazoo Wings, travels to Cincinnati to play Saturday night against the Cyclones, then buses over to Wheeling, W.Va., for a Sunday afternoon game.
The next Iowa home game is Nov. 6 against the Fort Wayne Komets.
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