CEDAR RAPIDS — They didn’t get a win out of it, but they stole a standings point. It’s a start.
Jeff Kubiak scored on a breakaway two minutes into overtime to give the Chicago Steel a wild 6-5 win over the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders last night in a rare Thursday nighter at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
The goal saved Chicago from what could have been a devastating loss. The RoughRiders scored three times in the final 5:12 of regulation to tie it.
That included a pair of 6-on-5 goals, with goalie Steve Michalek pulled for an extra attacker. Phillip Marinaccio pounced on a rebound and tied it with 37.3 seconds left.
He was acquired a week and a half ago in a trade with Chicago. The guy he was dealt for, Landon Smith, scored for the Steel, so you can call that part even.
Cedar Rapids (7-8-3, 17 points) has lost four games in a row and eight of 10. They are 0-3 this season in overtime and shootout.
The RoughRiders play Saturday night in Dubuque and Sunday in Des Moines.
“To get a point was great,” said Riders Coach Mark Carlson. “I’m proud of the effort to come back, for sure.”
Michalek was a ballyhooed addition this week from Harvard University, but ended up losing his first junior game, his first game of any kind since Feb. 18. The Minnesota Wild draft pick really couldn’t be blamed for any of the goals he allowed, as he was hung out to dry by his team, a disturbing and repeated pattern, particularly lately.
“There’s no time to be discouraged about it,” Carlson said. “You’ve got to keep finding ways to get better. Just keep trying to get better. That’s all you can do.”
Smith’s short-handed goal gave Chicago a 2-1 lead after a period. Judd Peterson tied it eight minutes into the second period for the Riders, but a turnover and giveaway led to back-to-back Ray Pigozzi goals in a span of 1:34 as the Steel took a 4-2 lead to the final period.
Joseph Widmar’s goal 6:45 into the third, on a nifty backhand centering pass from the side of the net by Alex Roos, gave Chicago a 5-2 edge, and that looked like that would be it. But defenseman Clark Kuster blasted home a 5-on-3 point shot with 5:12 left, giving Cedar Rapids momentum.
Riders Coach Mark Carlson pulled Michalek with a little over two minutes left and a faceoff in the Chicago zone. That eventually led by Dylan Gareau tipping in an Ian Brady point shot to make it 5-4.
Marinaccio was Johnny on the spot in the final minute, converting a juicy rebound after a Gerry Mayhew original shot from the slot.
In overtime, defenseman Brady rushed with speed into the Chicago zone, but his drop pass to no one was picked up by Kubiak, who had clear sailing down the right side of the ice. He faked Michalek down and backhanded home the winner.
“I would say overall our puck management has got to get better,” Carlson said.
Here is the game sheet:
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