CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa He's the hottest player in the United States Hockey League, by far.
What a roll Gerald Mayhew is on for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. You can see why this kid was a co-recipient of Michigan's prep Mr. Hockey award last year.
It was two more goals for the dude also known as Gerry (or Gary in the Riders locker room). That included a timely beauty with 4:31 left that lifted his team to a 4-3 win over the Lincoln Stars Friday night before 2,331 fans at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
"It's something nice," Mayhew said. "It probably won't happen all year like this. Some have been lucky goals, but I'll take them."
As will his team, which has won three in a row and earned standings points in four straight to climb atop the Eastern Division. Cedar Rapids (5-1-2, 12 points) heads to the road for two weeks with a guy who could probably shoot a puck into a butterfly net about now.
Mayhew has six goals the last three games, following up a hat trick with a mere mortal performance this time.
"Gerry's doing a nice job," said Riders Coach Mark Carlson. "He works hard, and it looks like he can score goals."
The winner came thanks to a perfect pass from linemate Nick Saracino, who saucered the puck from just inside the blue line ahead to Mayhew between the circles. He beat his check, deked and beat Lincoln goalie Jackson Teichroeb low to the stick side.
Mayhew and Saracino, who leads the USHL in assists, were just put on a line together last weekend during a three-game road trip to Youngstown, Chicago and Green Bay. You can bet they'll stay together awhile longer.
"I actually thought I was offside, so I kind of stopped," said Mayhew, from Wyandotte, Mich. "But I saw the (linesman) go 'No,' so I kept skating. He put a tape-to-tape pass on me ... I put it low. Low blocker, and it went in."
Goals from Mayhew and Austin Ortega staked Cedar Rapids to a 2-0 lead after a period. Defenseman Nathan Widman, acquired in a trade this week from Omaha, scored from the boards at the top of the faceoff circle for a 3-1 Riders lead late in the second period, but Lincoln (4-3) tied it with a pair of goals in the final 2:38, including a penalty shot by Kevin Roy after the period concluded.
Roy skated free on a semi-breakaway in the closing seconds and was unable to get a good shot away thanks to a good stick check by Riders defenseman Ian Brady. But the referee gave Roy the penalty shot.
"I didn't even think it was a penalty at all," said winning goalie Jake Hildebrand. "Ian just lifted his stick. But the ref saw something different."