By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
The No. 8 Division I Cyclones (10-5-1) lost game two of the series against the No. 1 Lindenwood Lions (8-0) on Sunday afternoon. The Lions picked up a 2-0 win as they completed their fourth sweep of the season.
“There’s a reason Lindenwood is number one in the country,” said Head Coach Jason Fairman. “Those are the type of teams you have to beat if you want to win a national championship. Lindenwood is a better team than we are right now.”
After a back-and-forth first period, the score sat at 0-0. Cyclone goalie Greg Moon made a save on a two-man breakaway to help the game remain scoreless. Each team recorded scoring chances and killed one penalty in the first. Similar to Saturday’s contest, the Cyclones held an 8-6 shot advantage in the first period on Sunday.
Early in the second period, Moon made another save on a Lindenwood breakaway to keep the game scoreless.
“Greg Moon stood on his head the entire weekend,” said Matty Moran. “We just couldn’t rally any goals behind him.”
The first goal of the game came at 2:20 in the second as the teams skated 4-on-4. Sam Watson collected the puck along the near boards. Watson’s centering pass hit the skate of Cyclone Joey Marcuccilli at the top edge of the crease and slipped past Moon’s outstretched leg.
Much like Saturday’s game, the Cyclones played well in the first period Sunday but the physical play of the second period threw them off, according to Fairman.
“We started changing the way we played,” Fairman said. “We weren’t executing our game plan and it became chaotic.”
The teams again traded power play opportunities in the second, but neither team could score on either of their two chances.
To begin the third period, the Cyclones killed essentially back-to-back penalties as they occurred less than a minute apart.
“We put ourselves in a bit of a hole,” Fairman said. “It’s tough to gain momentum when you’re in the box killing penalties.”
Lindenwood found its second goal at 11:13 in the third period. During the 3-on-2 break, Sam Watson took a shot from the center of the faceoff circle that snuck through Moon’s five-hole for the unassisted goal.
“We didn’t really get the puck to the net and couldn’t really get it out of our zone either to begin with, so those factors combined to hurt us in the end,” Moran said.
Lindenwood goalie Stephen Friedland earned the shutout as he stopped all 24 shots that he faced. Moon recorded 37 saves for a percentage of 0.949.
Neither team scored a power-play goal as the Lions had five opportunities to the Cyclones’ three.
The next series for the Cyclones is against the Lions. Those two games will take place on March 5-6 in Ames, Iowa.
“Next time around, we’ll be ready,” Moran said. “If we get pucks to the net and test their goalie, I think it’s a different outcome.”