CEDAR RAPIDS — Just about every player acquisition General Manager/Head Coach Mark Carlson has made this injury-plagued United States Hockey League season has worked out for his Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
Right toward the top of that success list is Zach Faremouth.
The 20-year-old forward was picked up in a trade with the USHL’s Fargo Force in mid-January. The Jackson, Mich., resident has six goals and 11 points in 14 games for the Riders and has posted a highly impressive plus-minus rating of plus-15.
That’s called making an impact.
“The adjustment has been really easy for me,” Faremouth said. “Coach has really helped me out and stuff. I feel like I have fit in well. It’s a great group of guys in here. I just think we’ve just jelled really well. We’ve just got to continue that, make the playoffs and go from there.”
Faremouth said he didn’t necessarily request a trade but kind of figured he’d be going somewhere. He played in 60 regular-season games and two playoff games last season for Fargo and had four goals in 23 games for the Force this season.
He is seeing more ice time with the RoughRiders, who host a pair of games this weekend: Friday night against Sioux Falls and Saturday night against Sioux City.
“Honestly, it worked out for me,” Faremouth said. “It wasn’t a big deal (to be traded), no hard feelings or anything like that. Fargo’s coaching staff, they were great. But I’m happy with where I am now. Way happier where I am. The guys on both teams were great. But I do feel like I fit in better here with this team. I can kind of produce more and get more out of myself, I feel like.”
“He’s got a chance to be a really good player,” Carlson said. “His best days are ahead of him, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.”
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Faremouth got to play at home last weekend when the RoughRiders split a pair of games against the United States National Team Development Program’s older club in the Detroit suburbs. He played youth hockey for the well-known Compuware program, which plays in the same arena as Team USA.
Many family members rooted him on, including his mom, dad and brother.
“It was a good weekend, a good step toward where we want to go,” he said.
Cedar Rapids is 18-20-5 for 41 standings points, two points behind Muskegon for sixth place and the final available playoff spot in the USHL’s Eastern Conference. The RoughRiders have two games in hand on the Lumberjacks.
They are just eight points in back of Team USA for third place in the tightly packed division. Cedar Rapids has 19 games remaining in the regular season.
Carlson again said he was uncertain of his goaltending situation for this weekend. Aidan Harper and Derek Mullahy are both injured, with 16-year-old Andrew Pichora having to handle duties the last four games.
Pichora and Grand Rapids (Minn.) High Schooler Carter Clafton were the guys in net for Thursday’s practice.
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