In a battle of two teams that have jockeyed for third place in the Eastern Conference for seemingly the entire season, the Gamblers (19-13-5) will travel to Cedar Rapids to take on the Roughriders (22-14-1) Saturday night in the fourth of six meetings between both clubs. With a regulation victory tonight, the Gamblers would pull even with the Roughriders for third place in the conference and a give them four points for the weekend.
With the puck scheduled to drop at 7:05pm CT in Cedar Rapids, let’s take an in-depth look at the matchup. Make sure to follow myself (@alecdopp) and @GamblersHockey on Twitter for continual updates throughout tonight’s game.
Season Series: Green Bay 1-2-0, Cedar Rapids 2-1-0
2012-2013 Series: Green Bay 4-2-0, Cedar Rapids 2-2-2
Record vs. Cedar Rapids under Derek Lalonde: 9-6-0
Record @ Cedar Rapids since 2011: 4-4-0
Average score over 15 games since 2011: Green Bay 3.80, Cedar Rapids 3.53
Team Season Stats
Green Bay: 19-13-5 record (.581 WPCT) | 43 team PTS (fourth in Eastern Conference)
Cedar Rapids: 22-14-1 record (.608 WPCT) | 45 team PTS (third in Eastern Conference)
Points: GB Nick Schmaltz (36), CR Andrew Poturalski (36)
Goals: CR Judd Peterson (15), GB Kevin Irwin (14)
Assists: GB Nick Schmaltz (28), CR Andrew Poturalski (24)
Jared Rutledge (GB): 18-10-3 record | .912% save rate | 2.77 GAA | 28.7 SV/G
Cam Hackett (GB): 1-3-2 record | .902% save rate | 2.87 GAA | 23.7 SV/G
Danny Tirone (CR): 15-8-0 record | .915% save rate | 2.63 GAA | 27.4 SV/G
Chris Birdsall (CR): 7-6-1 record | .895% save rate | 2.63 GAA | 25.5 SV/G
Storylines to Watch for
- Catching Fire — Consistently a mid-Eastern Conference team throughout the season, the Roughriders have caught fire of late, going 8-2-0 in their last 10 games. The reason behind this recent surge? Goaltending. While Cedar Rapids’ offense has converted just 9.1% of its shots (averaging 2.7 GPG in that span), Danny Tirone and Chris Birdsall have combined to post a ridiculous 92.6% save rate while allowing just 2.30 goals per game to the opposition. Two of those eight victories have come against Indiana, the Eastern Conference’s current top squad.
- “Situational” Victories — Last night’s 3-2 victory was an oddity of sorts for the Gamblers in several categories. It improved the Gamblers to 6-11-5 this season when not scoring the first goal of the game, ran their record to 9-11-3 when not outshooting their opponents and improved them to 7-12-5 when scoring three or fewer goals.
12/6/13 — Cedar Rapids 4, Green Bay 3 – In the first matchup of 2013-2014, the Roughriders skated out to an early 2-0 start after the first period. The Gamblers fought back, however, starting with Sebastian Weberg’s fifth goal of the season in the second frame and Kevin Irwin’s eleventh to open the third. Yet Cedar Rapids answered with two more goals in the final period, rendering Ryan Lough’s score with four minutes late inconsequential to give the Roughriders a 4-3 victory.
12/31/13 — Green Bay 2, Cedar Rapids 1 – With 4,777 fans in attendance for a new year’s eve matchup, Gamblers goaltender Jared Rutledge staved off 17 Roughrider shots in the first and second period (and 11 of 12 in the final frame), while Sebastian Weberg and recent addition Connor Hurley added with goals to give Green Bay a crucial 2-1 home victory.
1/17/14 — Cedar Rapids 4, Green Bay 3 — Recording at least 40 saves for the fourth time this season, Jared Rutledge’s impressive effort in net wasn’t enough to stymie Cedar Rapids’ offense, which converted on one unassisted and three multiple-assist goals en route to a 4-3 regulation victory. Green Bay was out-shot 44-25 in the contest.