By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
In their first time taking the ice in three weeks, the Division I Cyclones (10-3) lost to the Minot State Beavers (15-2-1) by a score of 4-1 on Friday night.
Head Coach Jason Fairman said the game was closer than the score may show.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Fairman said. “There were some key breakdowns that hurt us. When we made a bad mistake, it cost us. We didn’t get any breaks in that area.”
Fairman said he did not want to make any excuses for the team but the three weeks off along with only playing four games in the semester up to this point affected the game. Despite those factors, the Cyclones had quality puck movement, zone time and coverage, according to Fairman.
“We haven’t played a team like that yet and I think it showed,” Fairman said. “I’m actually optimistic with some of the things that I saw.”
Both teams registered several shots in the first period, but the Beavers held a one-goal lead at the first intermission by way of a Jagger Thiessen goal. Wayde Johannesson found Thiessen all alone at the blue line. Thiessen carried the puck straight to the crease and slipped it through Cyclone goalie Greg Moon’s five-hole at 13:17. Drew Carter also tallied an assist.
The score remained 1-0 at the end of the first period despite many chances from each team.
The Beavers increased their lead at 5:58 in the second period. The Cyclones lost control of the puck deep in their own zone, and Rhett Lough collected it just outside the crease. Lough beat Moon blocker side to give the Beavers a 2-0 lead.
“There were some small individual things, like coach said, that I think we will definitely clean up tomorrow,” said defenseman Justin Paulson. “Overall, it wasn’t a bad effort for the amount of time we’ve been off.”
Everett Bestland put the Cyclones on the board at 13:17 in the second period. Bestland intercepted a pass in the low slot, deked Beaver goalie Riley Wallace and tapped the puck across the goal line to cut the lead down to one.
Minot State regained its two-goal lead before the end of the period. Lough and Jordan Robertson got the puck to Justin Metcalf who was in the slot with his back to the goal. Metcalf quickly turned and slid a low shot past the outstretched leg of Moon. The puck hit the inside of the post and crossed the goal line at 15:57.
“When you’re playing teams like this, in the elite level of the ACHA, you can’t take plays off,” Fairman said. “You can’t take shifts off, so it costs you. Teams are too good.”
The Beavers took the 3-1 lead into the second intermission. Both teams again registered a nearly equal amount of shots as each team had several scoring opportunities.
The final goal of the game came at 11:11 in the third period. The Beavers once again took the puck away deep in the Cyclone zone. The centering pass found Carter Barley in the low slot for the one timer that beat Moon’s blocker. Adam Wowryk and Landyn Cochrane recorded the assists.
The only two penalties of the game occurred in the third period and were offsetting resulting in no power play opportunities for either team.
Iowa State finished the game with 29 shots to Minot State’s 28. Moon made 24 saves for a percentage of 0.857. Wallace’s percentage sat at 0.966 as he made 28 saves.
Paulson said now that the younger players know how Minot plays, Saturday’s game might not have the same outcome.
“I think tomorrow is going to be a different game for us and I think it’s going to have a more positive result,” Paulson said.
Game two of the series is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. The game will also be streamed through Stretch (link: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/isuhockey/).