CEDAR RAPIDS — Their postgame exchange Saturday night in the locker room hallway of the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena was brief.
Blake and Logan Pietila just smiled at each other, shook hands quickly and hugged even more quickly. They can catch up fully when their respective team’s United States Hockey League breaks come at the end of next weekend and they head home for a week or so.
It was quite a deal here, though, with the identical twin brothers playing hockey against one another for the very first time. Goaltender Blake and his Cedar Rapids RoughRiders had much the better of it, squashing right winger Logan and the Dubuque Fighting Saints, 7-1.
“We texted each other before the game, wished each other good luck, and that was about it,” Blake said.
“It was different, for sure,” Logan said. “I mean, we’ve always played together growing up. It was a lot of fun, though.”
The brothers, 17-year-old Michigan Tech commits from suburban Detroit, had a rink in their backyard that they would always be playing on. Considering their positions, of course it would mostly be Logan going one-on-one against Blake, trying to score.
They are apart for the very first time this winter: Logan a draft pick of Dubuque, Blake making the RoughRiders as an undrafted free agent. Blake was superb this weekend, backstopping the RoughRiders (9-10-1, 19 standings points) to a pair of victories, allowing just one goal in the two games.
Logan notched an assist on that goal. Kind of bragging rights for each of them.
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“I thought he played pretty good,” Logan said. “He made some lucky saves.”
“He got an assist on me, but he got lucky,” Blake shot back.
Cedar Rapids got two goals each from Jordan Timmons and Nick Granowicz, with Timmons picking up two assists and Granowicz one. The RoughRiders broke the game open with a four-goal second period.
Marek Valach, Jake Johnson and Roman Ahcan also had goals for C.R., Ahcan opening the scoring 1:47 into the second. He then stole a puck along the boards in the Dubuque zone, skated in 2-on-1 with Granowicz, deked down the Fighting Saints defenseman and sent a pretty feed across the goal mouth for a Granowicz slam dunk, of sorts.
It was a heck of a minute and 23 seconds for the winger, a heck of a weekend for the RoughRiders. A heck of a night for the Pietila brothers.