RoughRiders Compete For Fastest Slap Shot, Against Each Other
By Jeff Johnson, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – It was tough enough sharing bragging rights with each other for having the fastest slap shot on this season's Cedar Rapids RoughRiders team.
But co-winners Tommy Fallen and Michael Parks absolutely could not accept assistant coach Travis Winter tying them, too.
"That was a faulty (clocking)," Fallen claimed.
"He went from 80 to 90 in one shot," Parks said. "That doesn't really happen. He went from 80 to 90 to 82. You don't see that. It just doesn't happen."
This is the second year Source Media Group has borrowed a radar gun from Perfect Game USA baseball club, across the street from the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, and conducted the hardest shot competition, which came following Tuesday's practice.
Players and coaches got three attempts from the low slot and could skate into their shots from as far away as desired. Tanner Pond and Gage Hough were out sick and didn't participate. Newcomer Ryan Collins also opted out.
"I've never seen Hough take a slap shot, actually," Fallen said. "Pond, he would have been competitive."
The winners clocked in at 90 miles per hour, four ticks slower than last year's champ Eric Robinson, a freshman at Dartmouth. Keep in mind, the slap shot is only part of a player's overall game, and defense-men would seem to have some sort of advantage because they generally take more slap shots than forwards.
But while Fallen is a defenseman, Parks is a forward. And the idea here was to have fun.
Judging by the team-wide responses and good-natured ribbing when the results of each shot were yelled out, the boys seemed to have just that.
"We doing hardest shot today?" RoughRider Sam Warning asked a reporter when the radar gun was first pulled out of its case. "Hey, just add 10 (miles per hour) to whatever it says for my shots, would you?"
The usually mischievous Warning broke his stick on his first attempt and only reached 77 using someone else's. That didn't escape the attention of Parks, when asked who he thought might win the competition.
"I'd say me and Fallen, yeah," Parks said. "I think Sam Warning could have (hit 90), too. I don't know what happened there. He choked."
"Definitely Parks," Fallen said, when asked his pre-competition favorite. "I thought (Matt) Hansen might be the underdog here."
They didn't see Winter coming, though perhaps they should have. He played four years at Bemidji State, hanging up his skates last year after a brief professional stint.
"I had no idea what was going to happen," Winter said.
"It's more legs than people think," Parks said. "You transfer all your weight into the shot. It's not just your upper body."
The champs have a ways to go to catch Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who set an NHL all-star skills competition record last week with a blast of 105.9.
But they'll take what they got.
"Me and Michael have some bragging rights over the boys a little bit," Fallen said.
Here are the speeds of everyone's shots in this year's competition, in the order they went:
Nick Saracino: 80, 84, 84
Greg Amlong: 89, 83, 83
Cason Hohmann: 72, 64, 71
Andy Simpson: 82, 85, 85
Justin Kovacs: 81, 83, 82
Peter Maric: 79, 82, 79
Matt Hansen: 81, 84, 83
Sam Warning: Did not register (broken stick), 77, 77
Ryan McGrath: 81, 82, 81
Tommy Fallen: 86, 90, 89
Ian Brady: 85, 79, 81
Michael Parks: 88, 89, 90
Josiah Didier: 83, 82, 84
Stu Wilson: 79, 83, 82
Nolan Zajac: 83, 85, 84
Michael Holland: DNR (mishit), 77, 80
Jayson Megna: 83, 89, 84
Coach Mark Carlson: 71, 64, 70
Assistant Coach Travis Winter: 80, 90, 82
Goaltending Coach Scott Meyer: 83, 85, 83
Trainer Leo Miller: 57, 58, 56