Green Bay Beats RoughRiders in Game 4, 4-1

By Jeff Johnson, SourceMedia Group


By James Steward

GREEN BAY, Wis. — There’s absolutely zero margin for error now.

The Green Bay Gamblers scored three unanswered goals in the second and third periods and beat the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, 4-1, Friday night in Game 3 of the USHL Eastern Conference playoff finals.

The Riders must win Sunday afternoon’s Game 4 at the Resch Center to tie the best-of-five series and send it to a deciding fifth game Tuesday night in Cedar Rapids. Opening faceoff Sunday is 3:05.

“I just thought Green Bay played real well, did a good job,” Riders Coach Mark Carlson said. “We just need to play better overall. It’s not rocket science or anything here. We’ve played 67 games. The guys know what they need to do.”

The game seemed to turn late in the second period on two Gamblers goals.

Fourth-liner C.J. Eick put Green Bay ahead with 6:08 left after a good individual effort and drive to the front of the net. It was his second goal of the series after netting only five in 55 regular-season games.

Nolan LaPorte made it a two-goal spread with 2:05 left on a shot that deflected off Riders goalie Brady Hjelle’s blocker and stick and into the net. LaPorte scored twice in Green Bay’s 3-2 Game 1 win.

“I’d never want to use the word ‘deflate,’” Carlson said of LaPorte’s goal. “Any time goals are scored, it’s a big lift to the team that scores them, you know?”

Defenseman Aaron Harstad scored on a point blast after a Green Bay faceoff win in the third period for the final margin.

Green Bay dominated the first period, outshooting Cedar Rapids 12-3 and getting the only goal from Alex Broadhurst at the 5:38 mark. The RoughRiders played better in the second period, tying the game on a Michael Parks rebound goal five minutes in.

That was about the only good news for the Riders, who were doubled up in shots, 36-18.

“They did a good job of getting pucks on the cage,” Carlson said.

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