CEDAR RAPIDS Gazette (Jeff Johnson) — As far as starts to the season go, this one can’t have gone much better. At least through four games.
The Riders beat The Program’s youngsters Friday night, 8-4, in the home opener. They have four United States Hockey League regular-season wins in the bank in as many tries and have scorched the net for 23 goals.
“Pretty good effort,” said Riders Coach Mark Carlson. “We learn lots of things every time we play. There were lots of things we liked tonight, but lots of stuff to work on.”
Cedar Rapids has been so dominant early.
It has yet to trail in any game, which is impressive enough. Then consider the RoughRiders have played 240 total minutes and have had the lead for 174:18.
“We have a young group, and we know that,” said second-year winger Jack O’Leary, in a raucous locker room. “But the guys in here really love to work, and that’s what I think it is. We have fun every day at the rink, and that’s key. We have really good chemistry early on, and that’s huge. You usually have that on teams midway through the season, but I think we have that super early. You see everybody in here kind of going crazy right now. We just have really good chemistry, and we love working. We’ve definitely got to keep that going, but we’re on a pretty good high right now.” O’Leary had a goal and an assist, the only RoughRiders to have a multi-point night. That’s been another key for this team thus far, being able to roll four forward lines and three defense pairings without losing a beat.
Cedar Rapids scored three times in a span of 2:42 early in the second period to take the lead and run away. O’Leary’s goal came at the 58-second mark, with Jackson Jutting making it 2-0 at 3:29 and Max Sasson 3-0 just 11 seconds later.