A promising start evaporated into a disappointing finish as the Indiana Ice were on the short end of a 7-5 decision to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Saturday from Pan Am Plaza.
After building a 3-1 lead in the first period, the Ice offense disappeared as the visitors took control in the final two stanzas. Cedar Rapids caught and passed Indiana in the third period scoring the game-tying goal 2:51 into final frame.
After the RoughRiders scored the next two markers to build a 5-3 lead, Indy had a glimmer of hope with 3:34 remaining when Brian Morgan scored his second of the evening to cut the deficit to one---but the visitors scored 2:08 before the final horn to seal the victory.
Each team scored in the final two minutes-the visitors with an empty netter and Austin Hervey potted a goal with three seconds left to finish the scoring.
The Ice dominated at both ends in the opening period. While building a 3-1 advantage, the defense clamped down and held the RoughRiders without a shot in the first 10 minutes of play. Morgan got the hosts on the board 1:40 after the opening face-off when he buried a wrist shot off a feed from Hervey.
Austin Ortega scored the next two. The 5'7" forward put home a rebound of his own shot and beat visitor netminder Chris Birdsall on his glove-side. Canon Pieper earned an assist on the goal at 4:11 of the opening stanza.
After the Eastern Conference foe cut the Indy advantage to 2-1 at 11:29 of the period, Ortega struck again after he picked the pocket of a visitor defenseman and scored a breakaway for the third consecutive game-this time from the Cedar Rapids blue line. Ortega launched four of Indiana's 18 shots in the frame while the defense limited the RoughRiders to six shots.
The visitors had numbers and reversed the momentum in the second period. Cedar Rapids outshot the Ice 23-2 in the middle 20 minutes. The hosts were whistled for five penalties in the second period but the RoughRiders were able to convert with the man-advantage only once. Their only power play goal cut Indy's lead to 3-2 heading to third period. In stopping 22 shots, Dalton Izyk stopped a USHL season high for saves in a period. 19 of the attempts came with the visitors skating on the power play.
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