116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - He hasn't even had one single practice with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, yet.
Tyler Gernhofer learned Thursday night he had been traded here from the USHL's Bloomington Thunder. He hopped in his car early Friday morning and made it to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena just in time for the Riders' morning skate and six-hour bus trip to Sioux Falls, S.D.
The 19-year-old forward was thrown into the lineup Saturday night and ended up scoring the winning goal in a 3-2 win over the Fargo Force before 2,684 fans. Gernhofer took a back pass from teammate Alec Marsh in the low slot, his one-timer hitting the back of the net with 3:48 left.
Welcome to town, kid. Nice first impression.
'He couldn't have put that pass in a better spot,” said Gernhofer. 'It was just my job to put it away. Nice to get my first goal as a RoughRider.”
A University of Vermont commit from Grapevine, Texas, the solidly built 5-foot-9, 221-pounder was acquired by Riders Coach/General Manager Mark Carlson in exchange for second-year forward Jason Kalinowski. The irony is Cedar Rapids travels to Bloomington for a 3 p.m. game Sunday to complete a grueling three-game-in-three-days-in-three-cities weekend.
That's going to be weird for both Gernhofer and Kalinowski.
'We've watched Tyler for years and have always liked him,” Carlson said. 'We think he makes us a deeper hockey team. He's only going to get better.”
'At first, it's tough because you've got to say goodbye to all the guys, switch cities, switch systems and all that stuff,” Gernhofer said. 'The guys have really helped me out here getting acclimated. It's been an easy change. It's always easy to go to a good team, one that's winning. If we can keep this going, that'd be great.”
The RoughRiders are off to an 11-1 start, the best in franchise history. Marsh and defenseman Charlie Curti had goals to back the solid goaltending of Ryan Larkin.
He was called on for relief very late in regulation of Friday night's overtime win after starting goalie Ben Blacker was ejected for spearing. Larkin didn't have a whole lot of action, as his team won the shots on goals battle, 40-25, but made most all the big saves.
Fargo tied it with 6:51 left on a tip in by Mason Morelli, his second goal of the night. Morell charged the net and actually bowled over Larkin as the puck went in.
'I thought I played pretty well,” said Larkin, who is 4-0. 'Obviously, I'd like to have back one of those goals, but it doesn't matter. We won the game. It was a good win.”
By the way, the bus to Central Illinois leaves Sunday morning at 8.
'This is why guys come to the league,” Carlson said, refusing to rip the schedule. 'If you want to be a pro, you've got to get used to doing these things. Travel six hours away from home last night, get home at 4:30 in the morning. I was really happy with the guys tonight. I thought they stuck with it. Some pucks didn't fall in for us early, but we didn't get discouraged. We stuck to the plan and were able to get the job done.”
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