116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - At this point, you've got to wonder if the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders wonder.
They'll never admit it and shouldn't. Perhaps there really is nothing there.
But when a team has had your number like the Dubuque Fighting Saints have had the Riders' number this season, it's only natural to think there could be at least a bit of doubt creeping in about chances in this United States Hockey League playoff series.
'Nope. I don't think we have any doubts,” said RoughRiders winger Erik Foley. 'We're going to come in Friday, we're going to play our game. We'll try and get that one, then we'll come back Saturday and play our game there, too.”
The Riders and Saints play Game 2 of their best-of-five series Friday night at 7:05 at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Game 3 is Saturday night at The Stable.
It's not necessarily must win Friday for Cedar Rapids, but it certainly would help. Dubuque won the opener Tuesday night at home, 6-3.
'I thought we played a good game, except for some points here and there,” Foley said. 'We just had some mental lapses, and if you have those in this league, the puck's going to end up in the back of your net. We just need to sharpen up and get ready for Friday.”
Dubuque has beaten Cedar Rapids seven times in nine games, regular season included. The Fighting Saints have generally done a good job of negating the RoughRiders' speed and transition game.
Though it wasn't really lack of offense that was Cedar Rapids' bugaboo in Game 1. Dubuque had a short-handed goal, one on a 2-on-1 break and another with 9.7 seconds left in the first period.
All were killers.
'We need to be smarter,” RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson said.
'Just small details,” said Riders winger Andrew Gaus. 'We'll get to work in practice and sharpen up on those things. Watch video. I think we'll be ready to go Friday night and be much better.”
Gaus, Foley and Jiri Fronk had Cedar Rapids' goals in Game 1. Gaus, in particular, played a strong overall game.
'I just think it's hard work and pressure (that's important),” he said. 'Take away the easy play for them. Just have good sticks and stuff like that. I think we'll able to do that in Game 2.”
The RoughRiders have announced that 15-year-old forward Liam Walsh has signed a tender to play for the team beginning next season. Walsh is a Pennsylvania native who played this past season for the Victory Honda program in suburban Detroit.
Tendered players serve as a club's first-round pick in Phase One of the USHL Draft. A second tendered player serves as a second-round pick.
All tendered players must be on a 2015-16 roster and play at least 55 percent of their team's regular-season games. Hugh McGing and Derek Daschke were tendered players last year who have been integral parts of this RoughRiders team.
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