CEDAR RAPIDS – He deflected the question masterfully. It’s team first, you know.
“I’m just happy about the wins,” Dylan McLaughlin said after his Cedar Rapids RoughRiders took out Muskegon, 6-3, Friday night before 3,460 fans at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. “I mean, it’s always nice (to score). Me and my linemates are just playing really good right now. We’ve got to keep it going.”
McLaughlin scored a goal in his fourth consecutive game to help the Riders (28-14-2, 58 points) win their fifth straight and for the ninth time in their last 10. The exception came in a shootout.
Cedar Rapids is three points up on Dubuque for second place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference. The teams play Saturday night on the river.
Six players scored goals for the RoughRiders on a night they were without three important forwards (Judd Peterson, Mitch Maloney and Brennan Sanford): two out with injuries and one because of a violation of team rules.
“We like the depth that we have,” said RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson. “We had some firepower out tonight. It was a nice opportunity for guys to step up and impact the game.”
Andrew Oglevie scored just 2:06 in, converting a beautiful cross-slot centering pass from Alec Marsh. McLaughlin made it 2-0 six minutes into the second period , steaming down right wing, beating his check and getting to the front of the net with power and speed before depositing a forehand into the net.
He has eight goals this season, five in the last two weeks.
“This league is so hard,” Carlson said. “A lot of people don’t understand that. He came in as a young guy, and really worked hard and stuck with it. He’s a little bigger, a little stronger, a little faster. He has all the ability he’s always had, and now he’s maturing.”
“It feels awesome winning,” McLaughlin said. “Not having a great year last year, now everyone is just so confident right now. We go into games knowing that we can win. We have to keep that going and push for that playoff spot.”
The top four teams in each division qualify for the postseason. Cedar Rapids missed out in 2012-13.
Marsh, Carlos Fornaris, Andrew Gaus and Dylan Steman also had goals for the Riders, Steman’s with .2 seconds left into an open net. Former RoughRider Jack Rowe had one of Muskegon’s goals.
Danny Tirone, named this week to the USHL Midseason All-Star Team, made 31 saves to get the win in net.
“I just think as a team we are really playing well right now,” McLaughlin said. “We have a lot of chemistry, everyone is playing well.”
Here is the official gamesheet: