Pulling out hard-fought victories against Dubuque to open their second-half schedule, the Green Bay Gamblers extended their current winning streak to three games with a 2-1 victory over the Cedar Rapids Roughriders Tuesday night at the Resch Center.
With the win, the Gamblers improved to 15-8-5 through their first 28 games of the regular season, meanwhile leapfrogging Dubuque and Team USA for sole possession of the Eastern Conference’s second-best team points mark at 35.
“I thought we played a really solid game — even better than the first two coming off the break,” Gamblers assistant head coach Pat Mikesch said after the win.” We didn’t capitalize off some of our scoring opportunities, our power play wasn’t as sharp as it should be, but for the most part, I was happy with our effort. That was a team that came in hard and ready to play.”
Green Bay goaltender Jared Rutledge allowed only one goal for the second consecutive game in the affair, while successfully saving 26 Roughrider shots en route to improving his season record to 15-7-3. Sebastian Weberg tallied his second goal in as many games for the Gamblers, giving him seven for the season.
Connor Hurley tallied the go-ahead score 6:39 into the game’s final period, which was his first score at home as a Gambler this season. Last summer’s second-round Buffalo Sabres draft pick said the goal “felt really good.”
“I was kind of the high guy and Nick (Schmaltz) brought it around the net, and saw Matt (Weis) on the back door,” Hurley said. “Matt didn’t really have a shot, held it for a second and threw it right to the other side of the net and I was there, fortunately. On a night like this, it’s a big game with a ton of fans,” Hurley said. “Playing with those guys that I’m playing with, it’s unbelievable.”
The Gamblers will travel to Chicago on Sunday for their sixth matchup with the Steel this season, a team they have found a good deal of success against in the past. But as far as Mikesch is concerned, the game plan will stay the same.
“We need to come in with a similar mentality like we’ve had here,” Mikesch said, “and understand that it’s shift by shift and winning our zones and creating offense with a lot of speed and energy.”