RoughRiders coach becomes first in USHL history to win 600 with single club
Mark Carlson and the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders made history Sunday night thanks to a 4-2 win over the Madison Capitols. Carlson collected his 600th win as a head coach in the USHL, becoming the first head coach in league history to reach 600 wins with a single member club. Carlson also became the second coach in USHL history to reach 600 careers wins in their career, after P.K. O’Handley accomplished the feat in 2016.
Liam Walsh and Jason Polin put Cedar Rapids in front 2-1 heading into the first intermission. In a bit of hockey magic, the Ahcan family would prove to be valuable for Carlson, as Roman Ahcan scored the eventual game-winning goal putting the RoughRiders up 3-1. Jack Ahcan, the older brother of Roman, previously played for Carlson when he won USHL Defenseman of the Year prior to his career at St. Cloud State University. Roman, in his first USHL season, finished with his fifth multi-point game this season and collected his second career game-winning goal.
Goaltender Blake Pietila stopped 40 of 42 shots to improve to 9-7-2-1 on the year. The 40 saves were the second-most of Pietila’s career, and the third consecutive start where he faced 40 or more shots.
Carlson has been the only head coach in RoughRiders history. Cedar Rapids has seen over 27 NHL Draft picks and more than 600 players commit to Division I schools during Carlson’s 19-year tenure. Carlson has been named USHL Coach of the Year three times in his career, most recently following the 2015-16 season. The RoughRiders have won three Anderson Cup championships in addition to one Clark Cup in that stretch. Originally a Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Draft pick, Carlson began his coaching career at his alma mater in UMass-Lowell. He also served as an assistant coach for Northeastern University from 1996-99, prior to joining Cedar Rapids. The RoughRiders are currently three points out of a Clark Cup Playoffs spot, as they are seeking their 16th playoff appearance in 19 years.
Carlson currently has 16 alumni currently signed to NHL contracts, in addition to 45 players currently playing in NCAA Division I hockey including Northeastern forward Adam Gaudette, who currently leads college hockey in scoring.
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