Photo by Hickling Images
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders vs. Chicago Steel
Friday: 7:05 pm CST
Chicago is 4-0-0-0 against the RoughRiders this season, outscoring Cedar Rapids 16-7. Neither Ales Stezka nor Peter Thome have played against the RoughRiders this season, but both have been impressive in goal for Chicago.
The Steel have been led offensively this year by the “Mankato Line” of Jake Jaremko, Walker Duehr and Reggie Lutz. All three forwards are committed to Minnesota State University, Mankato and have found success against the RoughRiders this season. Duehr and Lutz have both scored six points each in four games against Cedar Rapids. In total, the Mankato Line has 16 points in four games against Cedar Rapids this season.
Captain Marc Johnstone has averaged a point-per-game against Cedar Rapids this season, but his role on the penalty kill might be even more important. The Steel have maintained an impressive 89% penalty kill against the RoughRiders, allowing just two goals on 18 attempts. Veteran defenseman Derek Daschke will lace up for his seventh career game against his former club. Daschke has over 150 games of experience in the USHL and is aiming for a career-high in scoring this season with Chicago. The Western Michigan University commit is just one point away from eclipsing his 2015-16 totals.
Cedar Rapids has proven to still put up a fight against the best teams in the USHL this season despite a 5-28-1-1 record. The RoughRiders surprised the Team USA U18 team with a 6-3 win last weekend, and lost by just one goal the following night to Madison. Jordan Timmons has five points in six games since being acquired by Cedar Rapids, including two multi-point performances. Marc McLaughlin has three points in his last three games and seems to have found a bit of confidence following the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Rookie goaltender Drew DeRidder recently surpassed 1,000 minutes and 500 saves this season. The 16-year old netminder is averaging 28 saves for every 60 minutes of play, a heavy load for a rookie. The Michigan State University commit will look to build upon his résumé this weekend as he is set to square off against an NHL prospect, as both Steel netminders, Stezka (Minnesota Wild) and Thome (Columbus Blue Jackets), have already been drafted.
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Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.