BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Central Illinois Flying Aces received multi-point outings from Calen Kiefiuk and Drew Elser, but the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders scored with 4:10 left in regulation to snap a tie and earn a 4-3 win on Wednesday night at Grossinger Motors Arena.
Despite scoring three times on special teams, the Flying Aces (12-22-4, 28 points) couldn’t withstand the RoughRiders’ two-goal third period in the first game of a stretch of seven games in 12 days.
Cedar Rapids (15-16-6, 36 points) opened the scoring on an even-strength goal from Jordan Timmons in the first five minutes of the opening period. Timmons fired a shot from the right circle under the arm of Flying Aces goaltender Ryan Snowden for his first of two goals in the game.
RoughRiders forward Graham Slaggert extended the Cedar Rapids lead to two goals just 69 seconds into the second period. Slaggert finished with a three-point night for Cedar Rapids, posting two goals and an assist on the game-winning goal in the third.
Central Illinois fought back and scored the next three goals to take a 3-2 lead to the third period. All three tallies came on special teams, and Wojciech Stachowiak started the surplus of special teams scoring with a power-play goal. After Stachowiak found the back of the net at the 5:59 mark of the second period, Elser (University of Connecticut) tabbed a power-play tally of his own a little less than five minutes later. Kiefiuk (University of Michigan) then gave the Flying Aces the lead with a short-handed goal, redirecting a feed from Elser past Cedar Rapids goaltender Jiri Patera.
But Cedar Rapids wrestled the lead back for good in the third period with a pair of goals. Slaggert evened the score less than four minutes into the third, and Timmons provided the go-ahead tally in the final five minutes of regulation.
Central Illinois continues one of its most grueling stretches of this season’s schedule with a pair of road games this weekend. The Flying Aces start the two-game weekend with a Friday night matchup against the Chicago Steel. Faceoff is slated for 7:05 p.m. at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
Known as the Bloomington Thunder from 2014-17, the newly-rebranded Central Illinois Flying Aces are a member of the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL). The only Tier I junior hockey league in the country, the USHL has become renowned for developing the next stars of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. At the start of the 2017-18 season, there were 128 active USHL alumni on NHL rosters, with at least one USHL alumnus playing for each of the 31 teams. In total, there have been 253 USHL players who have gone onto NHL careers, including Patrick Sharp, David Backes, Johnny Gaudreau, and Joe Pavelski, among others. The players in the USHL range in age from 16-20 years old, 95 percent of whom will go on to play college hockey at the Division I level. For more information, visit flyingaceshockey.com or ushl.com or download the USHL Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.