CEDAR RAPIDS On a night in which they had plenty of excuses at the ready, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders didn't need them.
Not a one.
No apologies necessary for a 5-0 win over the Green Bay Gamblers before 3,441 fans at the Ice Arena. Considering everything, this arguably was the best performance of the season, definitely the most gritty.
Chalk it up to the resiliency of youth. It was the third game in four days for Cedar Rapids (23-14-1, 47 points) and it came less than 24 hours after a third-period rally and uplifting victory at Sioux Falls.
A six-hour bus ride home saw the RoughRiders return to town in the wee hours, about 4 a.m. They got a little sleep, did a little game planning, put on sweet-looking black and red camouflage sweaters and socks in honor of Military Appreciation Night and went out and disposed of a team that now trails them by four points in the USHL's Eastern Conference.
"Takes a lot of mental toughness, a lot of will," said goaltender Danny Tirone. "When you get tired, you've got to push through it."