CEDAR RAPIDS – One captain back in for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Unfortunately, it’s also one captain back out.
Defenseman Clark Kuster could see action at some point this busy weekend. The Riders were at Des Moines Friday night, host Sioux City Saturday night and are at Dubuque Sunday afternoon.
Kuster hasn’t played since suffering a concussion and separated shoulder in a game Dec. 31 at Green Bay. The third-year rearguard should bring stability to a defensive group that has been inconsistent during his prolonged absence.
“Been practicing full contact all week,” Kuster said. “It’s gone well, feels good. We’ll see what happens.”
The St. Louis resident and St. Cloud State commitment has two goals and 12 assists in 28 games. It’s more than his offense, though, that the RoughRiders have missed.
“At the beginning, it really wasn’t quite as hard (to take), just because I knew I was going to be out for awhile,” Kuster said. “Once I was able to skate and everything, it was hard to watch, sitting out and knowing that I couldn’t help the team. It’s been hard, but I’ve been trying to do everything I can, as far as talking in the locker room, being vocal, trying to stay a leader.”
Co-captain Oglevie was wearing sunglasses in the RoughRiders locker room Thursday afternoon because he is still sensitive to light following his concussion, suffered in last Saturday’s game against Waterloo. He said he had to watch video in order to figure out how he was injured because he doesn’t remember.
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“I was just going to the net and ended up colliding with someone,” Oglevie said. “I just don’t remember how it happened.”
Oglevie has been Cedar Rapids’ best forward this season, with 16 goals and 27 assists in 38 games. The fourth-year player and Notre Dame commit also has racked up an impressive plus-minus rating of plus-25.
No one seems to know if or when he will return to the lineup.
“I’m getting better, though,” he said. “Obviously I want to play.”
“Guys have got to step up,” Kuster said. “We’ve got some leaders on this team. People just need to step up and play a bigger role with Ogie out.”
— Cedar Rapids (24-19-0, 58 standings points) went into the week with a three-point lead on Muskegon and Youngstown for first place in the United States Hockey League’s Eastern Conference. All three have played 43 games. Dubuque is eight points back of the RoughRiders, but has three games in hand. Sioux City has assumed the league lead in points with 60.
— The RoughRiders rank eighth out of 17 teams in attendance. The club has drawn 56,857 games in 22 home dates, an average of 2,584. Sioux Falls leads the USHL by a very wide margin, averaging 6,103 fans per game.
— Winger Jiri Fronk of the Riders is second in the league in goals with 25, one behind leader Brock Boeser of Waterloo. Tri-City’s Chris Wilkie also has 24.
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