CEDAR RAPIDS – They may not make the United States Hockey League playoffs. Honestly, it’d be a minor miracle if they do at this point.
But the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders will always have Saturday night. The night they, quite frankly, kicked the crap out of their biggest rival.
Dylan Gareau had two first-period goals, the Riders scored two third-period power-play goals and completely dominated the Waterloo Black Hawks, 6-2, before 3,454 fans at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
“This was one of the best games we’ve played,” Gareau said. “I clearly felt tonight that we were working as a team. It was just a fun game to play in.”
This might be the most thorough beating Cedar Rapids (19-24-7, 45 points) has put on an opponent in what has been a largely mediocre season. The RoughRiders outshot, outchanced, outskated, out-everythinged a very good opponent that has 16 more standings points.
Gerry Mayhew, Davey Middleton, Ian Brady and Andrew Oglevie also had goals for the Riders, who remain 11 points back of Youngstown for fourth place and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Cedar Rapids has 14 remaining regular-season games.
“I think we’ve been playing pretty good hockey,” said Riders Coach Mark Carlson. “Especially over the last month or so. Some nights we haven’t gotten the results. I thought we played strong tonight throughout the game, and I thought the guys got the result that they deserved.”
The RoughRiders played arguably their best period of the season in the first, building a 3-0 lead. Gareau, who has been out lately with an injury, had two of the goals.
His first came just over three minutes in, as he beat his check to the net and tipped home a deft centering pass from Bryson Cianfrone. A breakout pass to Cianfrone in stride allowed the center to rush into the Waterloo zone.
Mayhew made it a two-goal game at the 12:54 mark. He picked up a loose puck behind the net and was allowed to walk out front untouched, slipping the puck past Waterloo goaltender Eamon McAdam. Gareau scored 48 seconds later with a beauty of an end-to-end rush and blistering wrister to McAdam’s stick side.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Gareau said. “I just picked up the puck, looked up and saw a lot of open ice. Just took it to the net. I don’t even know what I was doing.”
Waterloo got one back in the opening minute of the second period when Mike Huntebrinker scored on a bad angle past RoughRiders goalie Michael Rotolo. That’s the way things stayed until the middle of the period, when Middleton slapped a perfectly placed shot off the inside of the goal post top shelf and in for a 4-1 Riders lead.
That lasted all of 36 seconds. That’s when Taylor Cammarata scored for Waterloo to cut its deficit to 4-2.
Things turned physical at the end of the period. A Riders player was knocked down as the teams crossed each other to congratulate their goalies, which caused a melee, including Rotolo going nose to nose and jawing back and forth with Waterloo defenseman Mark Friedman.
Waterloo got an extra minor penalty on the play, with Cedar Rapids cashing in on the resulting power play to begin the third period. Defenseman Brady snuck deep into the faceoff circle and was able to deposit a rebound into the net for a 5-2 Cedar Rapids lead.
Oglevie capped the scoring by neatly tipping home a Brady point shot on the power play at the 12:35 mark. To show how consistent the RoughRiders were, they had 12 shots each in all three periods, holding Waterloo to 22 total.
Here is the official gamesheet:
Comments are closed.