CEDAR RAPIDS – Junior hockey players usually are at the mercy of their college coach when it comes to when they begin their careers.
The college coach says they’re coming in as a freshman right now, the player jumps. If it’s two years down the road, so be it.
He point blank told the UNH staff he wanted another season in the United States Hockey League.
“I just knew coming back would help me as a player,” Poturalski said. “Coach (Mark) Carlson develops guys so much, and I knew one more year would help me even more. I want to go into college and be an impact player. So I figured ‘Let’s play one more year here.’ Plus, I love it here.”
So what was UNH’s reaction to his bluntness?
“They thought it was a very mature decision,” he said. “They were 100 percent on board.”
Poturalski, 19, had 12 goals and 33 assists in 53 games last season for Cedar Rapids. When the RoughRiders have been at their best over the years, they’ve had a go-to player and line to get the important goals in games.
The Williamsville, N.Y., resident has the ability and experience to be “go to” and a point gatherer.
“I’d love to, and I think my role on the team is just that,” Poturalski said. “Get points and help the team win. It’s more of a team thing. If we’re winning games, then I’m happy. If I don’t have to score every game, other guys are contributing, that’s great. But obviously that’s my game. If I do that, I help the team win.”
He has a goal and two assists in two games thus far this season. The RoughRiders host Youngstown on Friday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena (approximate 7:20 starting time).
“It’s just a matter of continuing to grow, something I think he’s done a good job with,” Carlson said. “I think we have a number of guys that could (produce points). That’s what you need, for guys to make plays at key times.”
Poturalski isn’t a big kid, listed at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds. But the weight has increased by about 10 pounds from last season, the result of intense offseason work.
And it’s all muscle gain. Carlson worked his team harder over the summer than he ever has, setting up a weight and conditioning program he made sure every player was following.
Poturalski said he can tell a difference on the ice, as he’s better able to win puck battles along the boards.
“That was the objective, to get stronger,” he said. “I don’t think I need any more weight than this Ten pounds puts me at about 190 now, and that’s a good weight for me.”
ON TAP: The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders host the Youngstown Phantoms tonight at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena with an approximate starting time of 7:20.
SCOUTING REPORT: The Riders started the USHL season with a win and loss last weekend. Cedar Rapids won at Lincoln, 6-3, and lost the home opener to Sioux Falls, 5-4. Judd Peterson had two goals against Lincoln, Alec Marsh two goals against Sioux Falls. Youngstown comes in 1-2-1. This is the only game this week for the RoughRiders.
TICKETS: $17 to $35 and available at the Ice Arena box office (261-4625) or online at www.ridertownusa.com.
PROMOTIONS: Magnet schedule giveaway and Family 4 Pack ticket promotion.
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