RoughRiders ride penalty kill to streak-snapping win

Hockey: Cedar Rapids breaks three-game losing streak by weathering a rough second period and showing resiliency

Published: December 6 2013 | 9:33 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:34 am in
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CEDAR RAPIDS – Coaches across all sports often sing the refrain of “one game at a time.” Cliché or not, the effort to focus on the task at hand and forget the recent past is paramount – especially when a team is coming off a three-game losing streak.

The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders were able to shake off that skid and a rash of injuries to get a 4-3 win over the Green Bay Gamblers last night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

And within this one game was some adversity, and a much-needed shutout from the penalty kill unit.

“We never talked about (the losing streak) at all,” said Coach Mark Carlson. “It was great to get a win tonight.

“(The penalty kill) was very, very important. If you don’t do a good job killing penalties, you’re not going to win a lot of games. I thought the penalty kill was very, very good tonight.”

The penalty kill unit had plenty of work to do throughout the game, but the bulk of the work came in a rowdy second period, which the RoughRiders entered leading 2-0 after a strong first.

It saw three fights, two players removed from the game – Cedar Rapids’ Dylan Gareau (game ejection for boarding) and Green Bay’s Ryan Sirosky (game misconduct for removing a player’s helmet during a fight) – and 65 total penalty minutes between the two.

Cedar Rapids was able to fend off all the Green Bay power play attacks – including a 5-on-3 – before a late goal from the Gamblers’ Sebastian Weberg cut it to 2-1.

“It was a tough, tough period there. We were in the box a lot,” said defenseman Clark Kuster. “But we managed to kill a lot off. It was a rough period, but we managed to withhold it.

“That’s a big part of our game. We always work on (penalty kills). It’s all about blocking shots and outworking the other team, and that’s what we did.”

Kuster chalked up the rash of fights in the second to “competitive spirits.” Once those spirits shifted to putting the puck in net, however, things got interesting.

Green Bay tied it at 2-2 in the third on a goal from Kevin Irwin at 7:45 out of a faceoff. The goal seemed to reawaken the RoughRiders, who answered with goals from Jason Kalinowski at 9:54 and the eventual game-winner from Kuster at 12:24.

A late goal from Green Bay’s Ryan Lough with 3:57 left in the game made it 4-3, and provided some anxious moments on defense as the clock ticked away.

Carlson’s squad didn’t waver, though, and showed their coach something.

“We found a way to answer back there in the third, which I thought was really, really important,” Carlson said. “I thought it showed real good toughness from our guys, for sure.

“I didn’t (have to) say anything to them. We showed great leadership there getting out and scoring that goal.”

The win kicked off the first in a four-game home stand for the RoughRiders, who next play host to the Tri-City Storm tonight at 7:05 p.m.

ROUGHRIDERS TRADE ROSBURG

The RoughRiders traded defenseman Jared Rosburg to the Sioux City Musketeers on Friday in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the second phase of the 2014 USHL Draft and the rights to affiliate player Evan Weinger. Rosburg, 17, was scoreless in 11 games for Cedar Rapids and had a plus-minus rating of minus-four.

He is the son of Baltimore Ravens assistant coach Jerry Rosburg. Weinger, 16, is playing for the AAA L.A. Junior Kings in California and is expected to compete for a spot on the RoughRiders roster next season.

--Jeff Johnson contributed to this story

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