CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Central Illinois Flying Aces dropped their final game before the Christmas break to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, 5 to 2, despite a third period push.
Cedar Rapids scored first at 1:32 in the first. Jason Polin entered the offensive zone and received a quick pass from Liam Walsh. Polin wristed a shot over the goaltender’s glove to take the early lead.
At 8:19 of the first, Polin scored his second of the game with this goal coming on the power play. The Aces goaltender made the initial save from a point shot through several screens, but Polin was able to find the loose rebound and put it into the net for a two-goal lead.
Polin concluded his natural hat trick at 16:47 in the first. Nathan Smith one-timed a puck from the left point and Polin found the rebound in the slot for his third of the night.
Nathan Smith drove below the goal line and passed to Aidan McDonough in the slot who one-timed the puck at 2:52 in the second for the RoughRiders’ fourth goal.
The second period turned scrappy as three fights were exchanged between the two teams. Throughout the game, the teams totaled 108 penalty minutes.
At 10:27 in the third, Philippe Lapointe (Burr Ridge, Ill.) entered the zone off the rush on the power play and passed to Stephen Halliday (Toronto, Ont.). Halliday snapped a puck past the Cedar Rapids goaltender to get the Flying Aces on the board. Ryan Siedem (Madison, NJ) also assisted on the goal.
On another power play, Lynden Breen (Grand Bay-Westfield, NB) passed down low to Halliday below the goal line. Halliday tried to shovel the puck into the net; during the scramble that followed, Lapointe was able to lift the loose puck over the sprawled netminder to get it within two.
Cedar Rapids iced the game with an empty net goal from Nathan Smith at 19:34 in the third to make it 5-2.
In relief, Mitchell Gibson (Phoenixville, Penn.) stopped all twenty-one shots faced to give Central Illinois a fighting chance.
The Flying Aces head to a two-week hiatus for Christmas break starting tomorrow. The next home game will be Friday, Dec. 28th as the Flying Aces host the Chicago Steel for Wrestling Night presented by Connect Transit with special guest ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan.
At the 2018 World Junior A Challenge, Flying Aces captain, Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.), and alternate captain, Cal Kiefiuk (Macomb, Mich.), continue to seek the gold medal with Team USA with the medal games occurring tomorrow, December 16th, before the players rejoin the team following the Christmas break.
Season tickets for the 2018-19 season are on sale now. For tickets or more information, call the Flying Aces at 309-434-2980 or visit www.flyingaceshockey.com.
ABOUT THE FLYING ACES
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.