Minor League Sports

Coached by his father's former teammate, Ben Meehan makes quick impact with Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

CEDAR RAPIDS — It has gotten to the point now where Mark Carlson is coaching the sons of guys in which he used to play.

Ben Meehan said he was ecstatic when Carlson and his Cedar Rapids RoughRiders took him in the fifth round of the 2017 United States Hockey League Draft, Phase I.

The 18-year-old defenseman from Walpole, Mass., spent two years on the Riders’ affiliate roster and at Dexter Southfield prep school in Massachusetts. He made the main roster this season.

Meehan’s dad, Scott, played college hockey with Carlson in the early 1990s at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. That’s where the younger Meehan will play as well.

“My dad loves Carly,” said Meehan, whose RoughRiders hosted Green Bay on Saturday night. “He’s the biggest Carly fan out there. He just told me don’t take anything for granted. You’ve got to earn every shift, that he demands the most out of you. That has definitely been true.”

Meehan has earned a lot of shifts early.

He went into Saturday leading the RoughRiders in points with eight in nine games. His six goals also led the team and all USHL defensemen.

“I think it was a big adjustment,” Meehan said. “Every guy you go against is as big as you’re going to get. I think at this point, I have adjusted, and I’m ready to make an impact.”

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He has already. Meehan had a third-period hat trick in C.R.’s crazy 6-5 loss last weekend at Omaha.

He couldn’t remember if he’d ever scored a hatty before.

“Oh, man. Probably youth hockey, and I don’t even know if I had one then,” he said. “I can’t remember one before last week. I was just trying to get shots through, and they just went in. It was definitely a special night. I wish we would have gotten two points. But that game definitely still goes to show what type of team we are, that we could come back from that deficit.”

Cedar Rapids scored four goals in the third to tie the game, only to lose on a goal with 13 seconds remaining.

“I’m definitely two way,” Meehan said. ”I would say I’m definitely reliable defensively. I feel like I’m a good puck-moving defenseman, and I can definitely jump into the offense as well when it makes sense.”

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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