RoughRiders Lose To Dubuque, Are Eliminated From Playoff Race

By Jeff Johnson, Reporter

Cedar Rapids' Justin Wade (18) knocks Dubuque's Dylan Gambrell (27) off his skates as the Dubuque Fighting Saints played the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, at the Mystique Community Ice Center in Dubuque, Iowa, on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

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By Grant Burkhardt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – They finally scored a goal Friday night. Beating Dubuque, however, remains highly problematic.

Impossible, actually, at the moment for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, who gave up three third-period goals in a 4-2 loss to the Fighting Saints before 2,965 fans at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

That makes it 0-8 this season against one of their biggest rivals and zero for their last 10 games against Dubuque dating to last season. This loss also officially eliminated the RoughRiders (20-29-7, 47 points) from playoff contention.

It’ll be the first time since the inaugural 1999-2000 season, Cedar Rapids won’t be part of the USHL’s postseason.

You knew this one hurt because a little more than half-hour after the game, the RoughRiders’ locker room was cleared out. No players, no coaches.

Corey Petrash and Andrew Oglevie had goals less than three minutes apart in the second period to stake the Riders to a 2-0 lead. Petrash’s marker ended a string of 184 scoreless minutes for Cedar Rapids, which lost a pair of 1-0 games last weekend, including one at Dubuque.

Petrash drove right wing and ripped a well-placed wrister from the right circle over the right shoulder of Dubuque goalie Arthur Brey 2:27 into the second period to give Cedar Rapids a lead. The Riders got another goal at 5:46 when Andrew Oglevie – skating between the circles – one-timed a pass from Alec Marsh that was actually intended for Dylan McLaughlin but went under his stick.

From there, Dubuque (39-10-7, 85 points) seemed to go to another level playing-wise that the RoughRiders simply could not match.

Evan Janssen scored with 4:32 left in the second period to make it a 2-1 game. Janssen was alone in front of Riders goalie Michael Rotolo and collected a turnover, deking Rotolo to the ice, spinning and rolling a backhander into the open net.

You could feel the tying goal coming in the third period, as Dubuque put together a very strong forecheck that hemmed the RoughRiders in their own zone and produced numerous Fighting Saints chances. Rotolo made a pad save of a good shot from the right point from John Stevens, but the puck went right to the stick of Dylan Gambrell for the rebound goal at 7:19.

Dubuque’s Eric Freschi was then allowed to skate entirely around the net to the low left circle, where he fired a shot through traffic that Rotolo didn’t appear to see. That put the Fighting Saints ahead with 5:47 to go.

The RoughRiders had a late power-play opportunity when Gambrell went off for tripping with four minutes to go, but Dubuque killed the penalty and got a Mike Szmatula goal with 1:21 left to officially seal the deal – again.

The Riders host Green Bay tonight at approximately 7:15. They are wearing special black-and-green pinstriped jerseys and socks this weekend that will be auctioned after tonight’s game to benefit the ALS Association.

Carlson’s father, Robert, died of what also is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease eight years ago.

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