CEDAR RAPIDS — Aidan McDonough picked a heck of a moment for his first goal with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
The first-year left winger appeared in his second game of the season Saturday night after a lower body injury kept him out of action for a month. With 9:36 left in the regulation and the game tied at 1-1 with the Youngstown Phantoms, McDonough properly introduced himself to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena crowd of 1,605 fans.
“It was kind of a broken play,” McDonough said after the RoughRiders defeated Youngstown, 3-1. “(Cedar Rapids left winger) Liam Walsh picked up the turnover and it was a 2-on-1 from the top of the circle. He made a really good play and I had an empty net. All I had to do was just bury it.”
The victory was the first for Cedar Rapids (4-2-1, nine points) in three games. After allowing 11 total goals in home losses to Sioux City and Dubuque, the Cedar Rapids defense smothered a Youngstown team that was playing its third game in three nights.
“That was a big focus the last couple of days in practice was D zone and protecting the front of the net,” said McDonough, 18, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound Massachusetts native and Division-I Northeastern (Mass.) University commit. “For us, the boys are pumped. Losing two games in a row was no fun. It’s a lot better when you win.”
Goalkeeper Blake Pietila — who played in the first five games of the season — was back in the net against Youngstown (1-5) and posted 24 saves.
After a scoreless first period, the teams traded goals in the first three minutes of the second frame. Cedar Rapids center Jason Polin scored his team-high third goal of the season off an assist from center Harrison Roy and right defenseman Mitchell Miller just 25 seconds into the period.
Roy added an empty-net goal with just 11 seconds left in the game.
Cedar Rapids will visit Lincoln on Friday before returning home Oct. 27 against Chicago.
“We’re day by day,” Cedar Rapids Coach Mark Carlson said. “If we win, our goal is to keep getting better. If there is a night where we don’t win, we want to keep getting better.”
AT CEDAR RAPIDS ICE ARENA
Youngstown 0 1 0—1
Cedar Rapids 0 1 2—3
First Period — Scoring: None.
Second Period — Scoring: 1. Cedar Rapids: Jason Polin (Mitchell Miller, Harrison Roy), 0:35; 2. Youngstown: Roman Kraemer (Matthew DeMelis), 2:36.
Third Period — Scoring: 3. Cedar Rapids: Aidan McDonough (Liam Walsh, Andrei Bakanov), 10:24; 4. Cedar Rapids: Harrison Roy, 19:49.
Powerplay opportunities — Youngstown 0-2, Cedar Rapids 0-4.
Goalies — Youngstown: Jon Mor 31-33; Cedar Rapids: Blake Pietila 26-27. Shots on goal — Youngstown 10-9-8—27; Cedar Rapids 13-9-12—34.
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