Riders Rebound with 5-2 Win over Chicago

By Jeff Johnson, Reporter

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By James Steward

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Just about the perfect response.

The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders had a lot of reasons not to be ready to go for Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Steel. You lose the previous night to your biggest rival, Waterloo, on a goal in the final minute, and that’s tough to come back from mentally.

But there were no excuses needed for this performance. The Riders scored twice in a terrific first period and went on to beat the USHL’s worst team, 5-2, before 2,958 fans at The Stable.

“I thought we came back and played well,” said RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson. “We were pretty consistent for 60 minutes, I thought.”

The Riders (13-12-7, 33 points) built a 3-0 lead, watched Chicago (9-21-1, 19 points) rally to within a goal midway through the third period but put things away on a pair of Davey Middleton tallies. The first was a soft goal, an innocuous-looking shot from right wing that glanced off the stick of Chicago goaltender Alex Sakellaropolous and into the net.

The second was a rebound on the power play, one of two man-advantage goals for Cedar Rapids. Kravchenko’s was the other.

“I just think it comes from the approach that you take,” Carlson said. “I think the leaders on this team had us ready to play tonight. We came out with a pretty good start.”

The RoughRiders outshot Chicago in every period and 42-20 for the game. They had tons of puck possession and good forecheck in the first period, especially, which goes back to Carlson’s comment about being ready to roll.

Defenseman Greg Amlong had the other goal for Cedar Rapids, which is in the middle of a five-game homestand that concludes with games next weekend against Dubuque on Friday night and Chicago again the following night.

They are 2-1 so far, as they look to climb in the Eastern Conference standings. The RoughRiders are in fifth place in the division, five points behind fourth-place Youngstown and seven behind third-place Dubuque.

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