116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders had a Program problem Friday night.
The United States National Team Development Program (i.e., The Program) had its younger, U17 team smash the Riders, 8-2, at ImOn Ice. The U17s scored five goals in the first period en route to this rout.
Back in Michigan, home of the USNTDP, the older U18 team also played and beat Youngstown, with Team USA’s four standings points earned Friday pushing it past the RoughRiders and Green Bay for sixth place and the last available playoff spot in the United States Hockey League’s Eastern Conference.
Cedar Rapids has 12 regular-season games remaining, including two more cracks at the U17s Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Chicago is in first place in the Eastern Conference with 72 points and has clinched a playoff spot. Dubuque is in second place with 69 standings points, Muskegon in third with 62, Youngstown fourth with 55, Madison fifth with 54, Team USA sixth with 47 and the CR/GB combo seventh with 45.
There are some games in hand to be considered here as well. They won’t matter if the RoughRiders (21-26-2-1) can’t play better.
“They played really well, we could have executed better, and it’s that simple,” said RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson.
Cedar Rapids beat the U17s handily last weekend in Michigan but lost twice to the U18s.
“Last weekend we kind of pounded on them a little bit,” said RoughRiders forward Grant Ahcan, who scored one of the two CR goals. Jake Percival had the other.
“I think that got to us today, and I don’t think we were ready for the start,” Ahcan said. “We still battled hard. They just won more puck battles than us. We’ve just got to be better tomorrow. Come to the rink tomorrow morning for our meeting dialed ... Get ready to go. I mean, there’s still four points available, so there’s still a lot to play for the rest of the weekend.”
Team USA scored its five first-period goals on just nine shots on goal. Cedar Rapids replaced starting netminder Conor Hasley with Bruno Bruveris for the second period, and Bruveris played the rest of the way.
The RoughRiders ended up outshooting Team USA by a 26-19 margin. Again, eight goals allowed on 18 shots is not good.
Team USA scored a 5-on-4 power-play goal, a 4-on-3 power-play goal and two shorthanded goals in the game.
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