"Never give up" was the motto for the Indiana Ice on Friday as team rallied for three goals in the third, but couldn't overcome the early surge as they fell to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 4-3.
Indy captain Woody Hudson logged two goals in just over a minute while Austin Ortega scored on a breakaway in his second consecutive game. Dalton Izyk took over netminding duties in the second period, logging 16 saves on 17 shots in the final 40 minutes of play.
The Ice was on the winning end of a 9-6 shot count after the first period, but walked into the locker rooms faceing a 3-0 deficit on the scoreboard. Landon Smith, Gerald Mayhew and Dylan Gareau score for the RoughRiders in the opening 20 minutes.
The shot count was reversed in the second period as Cedar Rapids controlled a 9-6 advantage in the middle frame. Izyk, filling in for starter Mattias Soderqvist, was equal to the first seven RoughRiders' blasts until Andrew Poturalski took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to give Cedar Rapids a 4-0 lead with 20 seconds remaining in the middle period.
The RoughRiders walked into the third period with a comfortable 4-0 lead, but the next 20 minutes of play just barely fell short of an amazing comeback saga for the Ice. Indy kept steady pressure on Cedar Rapids netminder Chad Catt, peppering the freshman goaler with six shots in the first eight minutes of the period.
Ortega put the Ice on the board with 11:32 remaining in the contest on a breakaway from center ice. The former RoughRider picked up the loose puck around center ice and deked Catt out of his skates to go low stick-side for his fifth goal of the season.
Indy struggled with penalties in the middle stretch of the stanza, but solid goaltending from Izyk kept Cedar Rapids silent in the final 20 minutes. The backstopper kept his head on a swivel, despite facing several bullets on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity for RoughRiders late in the third period.
"Captain Crunch" became "Captain Clutch" in the final minutes as both of Hudson's goals came in the final 97 seconds of the contest to put Cedar Rapids on its heals and draw Indy within a goal of tying.
Hudson's first lamp lighter came off a rebound from Canon Pieper in the low slot with 1:37 remaining in the game. His second goal of the night came just outside the crease as a rebounded shot in the high slot from Matt Krug bounced off Catt and onto Hudson's stick for the final goal of the evening.
With 30 seconds left in the game, the RoughRiders had an opportunity for an empty netter as a loose puck sailed across center ice. Krug came up big to dive with his stick out, rerouting the puck within a few feet of the goal line.
The Ice return home Saturday to the "Circle City" for a rematch with RoughRiders from Pan Am Plaza. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm.
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