Diamonds and Ice

RoughRiders dominate USHL all-star tilt

Here’s a story on Wednesday night’s USHL All-Star/Prospects Game in Sioux Falls, S.D., in which the East Division beat the West Division, 4-1.  To say the five Cedar Rapids RoughRiders players in the game had a good night is a big understatement.

Forward Kyle Flanagan was named MVP after scoring a goal and assisting on three others. Forward Mike Seidel was East MVP after scoring twice and assisting on another goal. Forward Jeff Costello also scored, and goalie Mike Johnson picked up the win. Poor old defenseman Matt Donovan had no stats, except for three shots on goal, which is nice.

Cedar Rapids' Kyle Flanagan named USHL All-Star/Prospects Game MVP

Cedar Rapids' Kyle Flanagan named USHL All-Star/Prospects Game MVP



CEDAR RAPIDS — Kyle Flanagan was given a nice big gym bag full of shirts and a brand new pair of skates. Mike Seidel received a new stick.

Matt Donovan helped himself to a pair of sandals that were earmarked for Flanagan. Mike Johnson got his picture taken with Olympic gold-medal gymnast Shawn Johnson.

Jeff Costello got his health back, playing for the first time in two weeks and scoring a goal despite nursing a broken right hand.

Wednesday night’s 2009 USHL All-Star/Prospects Game in Sioux Falls, S.D., was all about the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

“That was really great,” said Flanagan, named the game’s MVP after helping Team CCM (East Division) past Team Reebok (West Division), 4-1. “Obviously I wouldn’t have gotten (MVP) without the two guys playing with me. I’m sure I speak for the whole group when I say that was just a great experience. It was everything it was made up to be.”

As were the five players who represented the RoughRiders in the game. Flanagan scored 1:12 in, then assisted on his team’s other three goals.

Seidel scored two of those, assisting on the other, and was named the East team’s player of the game. Flanagan, Seidel and Costello have played on the same forward line most of this season for Cedar Rapids, which may have been a big advantage.

“We’ve been playing together, so I don’t know how much of a factor that was,” Seidel said. “Everything was going our way, we were working hard. We were told before the game not to take it lightly, that there were going to be a lot of (important) people there. So we just went out and played how we normally played.”

Defenseman Donovan had no points or plus-minus rating but put up three shots on goal. Goaltender Johnson played the first half of the game and was credited with the victory.

It was actually win number two, considering that little photo opportunity he had with Shawn Johnson at a Tuesday night league banquet in which she was the featured speaker.

“She’s small, came up to about here on me,” Johnson said, pointing to his upper chest. “But she is really cute.”

RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson was a proud papa watching his guys do so well. He pointed out it was the result of the effort the five all-stars have put forth on and off the ice.

“I talked to the team about this today, but I think the biggest thing is all five of the players who were there for us have really worked to get to where they are,” Carlson said. “Matt Donovan has worked so hard on his conditioning, Jeff Costello, from June to September, made enormous strides in terms of his body composition.

“Mike Seidel has made dramatic changes and worked so hard. Kyle Flanagan, the jump he made strength wise from this year to last year … And Mike Johnson, you go back to when we first drafted him to today, the way he’s changed his conditioning and got himself in great shape. That’s why those guys were there (at the all-star game).”




Quotes from last night’s RoughRiders brawl

OK, what was that?
The line brawl early in the third period of Saturday night’s 2-1 RoughRiders victory over Lincoln had many of the 3,000-plus in attendance at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena asking that question.
In a scene straight out of “Slap Shot,” a line brawl erupted that resulted in 108 minutes in penalties, 69 by Lincoln. The second the puck was dropped for a faceoff in the Lincoln zone, Stars forward Jon Puskar dropped his gloves and skated over to RoughRiders forward Cody Murphy.
Murphy had no choice but to oblige, as hell broke loose all over the ice. Riders defenseman Matt Tennyson fought with a Lincoln opponent, defenseman Doug Leaverton went back and forth with Lincoln’s Michael Sdao, with the two fighting so long they ended up at center ice after originally engaging deep in the Lincoln zone. Sdao’s jersey and pads were completely ripped off, and Leaverton was bleeding heavily from his eye and forehead.
Forward Kyle Flanagan was pinned along the boards by two Lincoln players. Five Lincoln players were given fighting majors to three for Cedar Rapids, though Flanagan and Mike Seidel (both of whom decided not to fight) were awarded roughing minors. Six players were given game misconducts. Quite a Goon Fest!!
“It’s a part of hockey,” Murphy said. “I don’t know how to explain it. Everybody was fighting each other. You’ve got to stick up for your teammates.”
“Just a part of hockey, that’s all it was,” concurred Flanagan. “Personally, I didn’t see it coming. Not at all. But it happens in the game sometimes. They were down 2-0, they didn’t have a lot of momentum, it was in our barn.”
Lincoln’s strategy throughout the game was to play physical against the USHL’s least-penalized team, trying to throw the RoughRiders off their game. Cedar Rapids players consistently stayed disciplined, however, unwilling to retaliate or get into any significant rough stuff.
But the Stars apparently wouldn’t take no for an answer. Coach Jimmy McGroarty sent out his toughest line (6-foot-4 Sdao, Puskar and Garrett Peterson) against one of the Riders’ smallest, with what appeared to be one goal in mind.
Not a goal, but an altercation. And, just think, SpongeBob SquarePants was in the house and witnessed all this!!
“Right before that big scrap happened, they were (yelling) ‘Let’s go, let’s go,’” Murphy said. “I was like, you know what, I want to play hockey.
“They were antagonizing me, trying to get me to fight. I was trying to keep my cool. It all happened so fast.”
RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson would not comment on the brawl, even when prodded, though he was clearly not pleased. He could be seen shaking his head in disgust on the bench after things were finally calmed down and the players involved were either sent to the penalty box or off the ice.
Carlson did not look at McGroarty as he shook his hand postgame near the team benches. Lincoln players were booed lustily by the Ice Arena crowd as they left the ice.
“It is dirty hockey,” Murphy said. “It’s not like my type of hockey. I don’t go into games thinking I’m going to get into a fight. I want to play hockey.
“But it is a part of the sport. It happens. So you’ve got to be ready and be there for your team.”