Riders streaking into playoffs

By Kory Catlett

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Captain Danny O’Brien changed his pregame meal hoping to change his luck. He went from the normal pasta before games to peanut butter and jelly. That’s right, good old-fashioned p, b, and j. Well it seemed to work so far as O’Brien scored a powerplay goal Saturday night against Rochester to open the scoring at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. The Riders came out a little sluggish during the first period and gave up a goal late in the first to tie it at one heading into the break.

RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson must have lit a fire in the locker room during the intermission. The Roughriders came out like their butts had been chewed on a little bit. Just 47 seconds into the second period Nate Meyers scored another goal for CR or did he? Meyers took a pass from Kevin Brooks and muscled it under Yen I-Chen for an apparent goal but the on ice officials didn’t see it. Even though the goal judge lit the lamp to signal a goal, the goal was not allowed at that time. About 40 seconds later the officials stopped play and talked it over via walkie-talkie and then allowed Meyers’ 27th goal of the season. Kevin Brooks scored about 5 minutes later to give Cedar Rapids a 3-1 lead. Toward the end of the second period things got a little testy. As Rochester net minder Chen froze the puck, there was a lot of pushing and shoving. Meyers held onto Rochester defensemen Matt Manina moving him away from the scrum toward center ice, Manina thought it would be a good idea to take some swings at Meyers. I wonder if he still thinks it was a good idea? You could see Meyers trying to hold on as not to get a fighting penalty but he could only take so much. “He kept face-washing me and I didn’t really want to go but when he (Manina) finally took a swing I knew I had to” Meyers said. Meyers pummeled Manina with rights and uppercuts and both were assessed game ejections for fighting after a stoppage. “I’ve been trying to play a smarter type of game, still hard-nosed but smarter,” Myers said on not wanting to take the fighting penalty. “Winning the division is our priority right now, if we slip to second in the division we really fall to like 5th or 6th in the playoff seedings.

The Mustangs scored early in the third to close out the scoring 3-2 with Cedar Rapids winning their third straight and remaining 3 points ahead of Green Bay in the Eastern Division lead. Danny O’Brien overtook Gerry Hickey for the all time regular season career scoring title with his first period tally. “If we follow Coach’s plan and with how well we have been playing we should be playing deep into April and hopefully into May,” O’Brien said “it’s time to start scoring some ugly goals. It’s time to get nasty.” I’m just wondering what flavor jelly it was.