CEDAR RAPIDS — It took a little longer than he might have liked, but here it is.
Mark Carlson won his 600th career game as head coach/general manager of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders when his team beat the Madison Capitols on Sunday afternoon, 4-2.
The win stopped a four-game losing streak for the RoughRiders (16-19-7, 39 standings points), who are eighth in the nine-team USHL Eastern Conference, though only three points out of a playoff spot. The top six teams in each division qualify for the United States Hockey League playoffs.
“They gave me the puck, so that was special,” Carlson said. “We were all just excited here about the hockey game today. Playing three in three (days) against a very good Madison team, so I was very proud of the effort today.”
Liam Walsh and Jason Polin scored goals in the first period to put Cedar Rapids ahead for good, 2-1. Roman Ahcan scored in the second period, and Jordan Timmons had an empty net goal in the third for the final margin.
Blake Pietila made 40 saves in net for the victory.
Carlson is 600-419-103 in 19 seasons at the helm for the RoughRiders, the only coach and general manager the club has had. Only Waterloo’s P.K. O’Handley has more USHL victories (671).
Ironically, Carlson and O’Handley have become good friends.
“The one thing that comes to mind, as we mentioned to our players after the game, is players win games,” Carlson said. “That is first and foremost. I feel like I’ve been fortunate to be a part of 600 wins with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. To start at the beginning, this is 600 wins for the organization. To be a small part of all of them is a really cool thing.”
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