CEDAR RAPIDS - Andrew Gaus is so smart. How smart is he?
He's so smart his college choices came down to Yale and Harvard.
That's not funny because it wasn't supposed to be a joke. It was meant to show the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders winger's ability on the ice and in the classroom.
Gaus has picked defending national champion Yale, by the way. After one more season in the United States Hockey League, he'll head to Connecticut to fulfill a lifelong dream.
"It was always a goal, ever since I was a little kid," said Gaus, whose RoughRiders lost to Indiana in a shootout, 4-3. Friday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. "My dad played prep hockey, so I always wanted to be able to play prep hockey, then go to an Ivy League school. I got the choice between Yale and Harvard, and it was a pretty tough call. But Yale is the right place for me, for sure."
He believes Cedar Rapids is the right place to be at this stage of his development. The 18-year-old from Wexford, Pa., played for the Dubuque Fighting Saints most of this season but wasn't happy and asked to be traded.
The RoughRiders were in need of a forward and acquired him. It has been a good fit.
Gaus has a goal and assist in five games.
"First of all, I just like his attitude, his work ethic," said RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson. "He is an absolute team-first guys. He just hustles all the time, and he can make plays. He's gotten a few points for us early, but it's just the way that he hustles and closes (defensively) on people. Takes away time and space, makes a play, is a team player. I think he's got great upside and ability."
"I was just really fortunate to find a home here in Cedar Rapids," Gaus said. "I love playing with these boys. It's been a good two weeks so far."
Gaus played two years of prep hockey for the Taft School in Connecticut and has competed against RoughRiders Jason Kalinowski, Danny Tirone, Dylan Steman and Andrew Oglevie in his hockey career. Having some familiar faces around has helped his transition to a new team.
He thinks the up-tempo style Carlson teaches has been a boon.
"It's a little bit different here. Coach Carlson gives us a little more leeway to play with more skill and creativity. Whereas in Dubuque, it's a little more system oriented. I really like playing this style here. We play fast, we rely on skill. I think it fits my game really well. So it's been a pretty good transition for me."
The Riders (23-14-2, 48 points) blew a two-goal lead in the third period, with Indiana tying the game on a Scott Conway goal with 1:07 left in regulation. It came with Indiana goalie Jason Pawloski on the bench for an extra attacker.
Pawloski stopped Judd Peterson of Cedar Rapids on a rare overtime penalty shot with 47 seconds to go. Indiana had both successful attempts in the three-player shootout.
Nathan Widman, Alec Marsh and Dylan McLaughlin had the RoughRiders' goals. Chris Birdsall took the loss in net.
Cedar Rapids plays Saturday night at Green Bay and Sunday afternoon at Chicago.
Here is the official gamesheet: