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‘We just want to keep getting better every day,’ says Cedar Rapids head coach as team prepares for season

Practices have been competitive and head coach Mark Carlson has been pleased with how the group is coming together ahead of the start of the 2022-23 campaign.

Roughriders vs Dubuque.jpg
The Roughriders celebrating after scoring against Dubuque in December 2021.
Contributed / Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — After falling to the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the first round of the Clark Cup playoffs last season, the Cedar Rapids Roughriders are ready to ride into the new year.

"I think we have some pretty good depth throughout the lineup," said Roughriders head coach Mark Carlson. "It's nice to have some returners back this year and our job choices that have come in this year have done a pretty good job and we're happy to have some free agents come in that have played well too so it's been pretty darn competitive on a daily basis which has been great."

When asked if there was a goal or message that he had for the group as they enter the new season, Carlson had a simple answer.

"I know it sounds cliche but we just want to keep getting better every day," said Carlson.

2021-22 SEASON RECAP

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Last season, Mark Carlson led the Roughriders to a 29-29-0-4 record. Adam Flamming led the team in points with 46 and in goals with 27 through 62 games.

OFF-SEASON NOTES

  • Lukas Fischer was drafted in round one with the sixth pick by the Roughriders
  • There were 16 past, current and future Roughriders who attended NHL Development camps
  • The Roughriders hired new goalie coach Evan Draves

KEY PLAYERS

Brendan Fitzgerald is one player coach Carlson mentioned he has been really impressed by this preseason. Fitzgerald returns to the Roughriders after putting up 5 goals and 26 assists for 31 points last year through 58 games.

Ryan O'Connell could be another name to look out for on the Roughriders this season. Last year he played for Mount St. Charles Academy 18U AAA where he had 29 goals and 44 assists through 63 games.

ARENA NOTES

The Roughriders play at ImOn Ice in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The arena was built in 2000 and seats 3,850 fans.

The Roughriders will open their season on Sept. 22 in Pittsburgh at the USHL Fall Classic as they take on the Lincoln Stars.

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MORE USHL COVERAGE:
One week into the season, three players made an impact at the annual Fall Classic to earn honors of forward, defenseman and goaltender of the week.
The Rink Live's Kirsten Krull spoke with Robertson about the importance of the Fall Classic, the opportunity for the players the event provides, and what's next on the calendar for the league.
From the Fall Classic, only four teams in the USHL remain undefeated after two games played.
There was no lack of action around the rink on Day 3 as we saw teams rally and two games head into OT.
Day 3 of the USHL Fall Classic saw two games go into OT, but everyone's thoughts were with team USA when NTDP's Brady Cleveland went into the boards and was stretchered off the ice in the first period against Omaha.
The first 10 teams that arrived to the Fall Classic have wrapped up their two game road trip, and some went out with a bang.
Day two of the Fall Classic is in the book, and 10 teams have completed the first two games to officially get the season underway.
"Consistency. Consistency every day," said head coach David Wilkie. "Work to get better every time they touch the ice or even in the gym." That is the goal for the team as they head into the new year.
Hear from USHL commissioner Bill Robertson about how important of an event the Fall Classic is, and get up to speed on the first five games of the USHL season.
10 teams get their first game of their season underway at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Kirsten Krull covers juniors and prospects for The Rink Live. She is a 2020 St. Cloud State graduate, and has been working in the hockey world for over six years, covering many levels of the game from juniors to the NHL.
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