By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
Just eight days after setting a season-high for goals in a game, the Cyclones topped the previous effort and tallied 12 on Saturday night. Iowa State (13-7-2) picked up a 12-2 win on senior night over the Midland Warriors (9-16-1).
“The goal for the evening was to make a statement,” said Head Coach Jason Fairman. “The guys weren’t very happy with what transpired on Friday.”
The Cyclones scored early and often, starting in the first period. Matty Moran opened the scoring at 3:56 with an odd-man rush goal. Payton McSharry and Ray Zimmerman tallied the assists.
“That’s exactly how we wanted to play,” said senior Andrew Lee. “Obviously, [Friday] night wasn’t the result that we wanted, so I think we definitely came out and played the way that we should play almost every night.”
On the Cyclones’ first power play of the night, Stuart Pearson doubled the lead. Pearson’s wrister from the near faceoff circle beat Midland goalie Angus Laing’s blocker at 14:13. McSharry and Zimmerman again tallied the assists as the Cyclones took a 2-0 lead. Iowa State then scored three more goals in the next four minutes.
Will Kutch added an unassisted goal at 15:46. Kutch intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and crossed the blue line. He made it by the lone defenseman in front of him as the referee’s hand went up for a delayed penalty. Kutch made his way to the edge of the crease, deked Laing and slipped it past Laing’s outstretched leg for his first goal as a Cyclone.
On the ensuing power play, the Cyclones increased their lead to 4-0. McSharry had the puck in the near faceoff circle. His wrister beat Laing’s glove for the top-shelf goal at 17:37. Zimmerman and Ryan Nelson tallied the assists.
Less than a minute later, Iowa State grabbed its fifth goal of the first period. Max Kamper sent a pass along the top of the crease, and senior Justin Paulson tapped it across the goal line at 18:10.
Senior Max Olson knew what was at stake and said the Cyclones needed to put the pedal down.
“We knew coming into the game that it was a big one, especially in the rankings,” Olson said. “It was kind of do or die.”
The Cyclones then ended the period on their second penalty kill of the night. They finished the first period scoring on both power plays and held a 17-6 shot advantage. Laing did not return to the game after the first period. He stopped 12 shots for a percentage of 0.706.
Iowa State killed the remaining 10 seconds of the penalty to start the second period and quickly resumed scoring. Olson drove a shot from the point, and C.J. Banser, who was standing just outside the crease, deflected the puck past Midland goalie Jaden Gardner at 1:18.
The Cyclones increased the lead once again just 37 seconds later. Several players fought for the puck in front of the net, and Everett Bestland’s shot from the low slot beat Gardner five-hole at 1:55 to make the lead 7-0.
“From the get-go, we were just ready to come out and play,” Lee said. “We did a lot of little things right from the start.”
Soon after, Midland scored its first goal of the night. Ayrton Cornic carried the puck across the blue line and fired a shot from the top of the faceoff circle past Cyclone goalie Greg Moon’s glove. The top-shelf goal at 2:45 brought the score to 7-1. Tanner Mros and Phil Liakakos tallied the assists.
After the flurry of goals, the teams cooled down for a few minutes before the Cyclones tallied their next goal. Brooks Mitzel’s cross-ice pass found Bestland in the neutral zone. Bestland raced into the Midland zone and slipped a shot past Gardner’s leg from just outside the crease for the breakaway goal at 8:29.
“We were making the right plays. Guys were buzzing around,” Paulson said. “We had a lot of energy, so all those factors helped us in the end.”
Iowa State scored once more before the period came to an end. Pearson got the puck to Moran just as he reached the blue line and split two Midland defensemen. Moran carried the puck straight to the crease, deked and slipped the puck past Gardner’s leg at 17:47. The puck crossed the line just before Moran knocked the net off its moorings. Jacob Schuldt also tallied an assist on the goal to make it 9-1 at the end of the second.
The Cyclones did not convert on their lone power play in the period, and the Warriors were held scoreless on their two advantages. However, Iowa State picked up a penalty with just seconds remaining in the period and skated down a man to start the third.
Moon’s night ended when the second period also ended. He stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced for a percentage of 0.917. Griffin Iglesias entered the game in what was his first appearance for the Division I team.
Midland scored its second goal of the night at 1:25 in the third. Fletcher Chun’s wrister from the top of the near faceoff circle hit Iglesias’ blocker on its way into the net. Jack Royer tallied the assist on the power-play goal.
The Cyclones then had a power play of their own but could not convert as the score remained 9-2. Iowa State’s final three goals came short-handed. Moran picked up a five-minute major for head contact and was disqualified at 10:33. As the Cyclones skated down a man for the guaranteed five minutes, they found themselves on an odd-man rush. Zimmerman got the puck to Conner Hunt for the top-shelf goal at 10:59.
During the kill, Fairman switched up the tactics, and it paid off.
“When we started getting aggressive, I thought we did pretty good,” Fairman said. “[…] “They have a pretty decent power play, so I was a little slow in making the decision to be more aggressive ”
Less than two minutes later, Banser poked the puck away from a Warrior in the neutral zone. He wove his way into the slot and fired a wrister past Gardner’s glove at 12:18 for the eleventh Cyclone goal.
The game’s final goal occurred at 12:43 when Zimmerman tallied his fifth assist of the night. Zimmerman found Hunt open in the low slot for the one-timer before Gardner could cover the angle.
“We just had the hot stick tonight,” Paulson said. “Getting odd-man rushes during the penalty kill, that doesn’t happen very often. We were capitalizing. Guys were smiling, having fun and being energetic all game.”
Gardner stopped 29 of the 36 shots he faced during his 40 minutes for a percentage of 0.806. In 20 minutes of play, Iglesias faced 10 shots and stopped nine of them for a percentage of 0.900. Iowa State outshot Midland 53-22 on the night.
The Cyclones converted on two of their five power plays and killed five of their six penalties, including the major.
Iowa State plays Ohio March 27 and Lindenwood March 28 in the Central States Collegiate Hockey League (CSCHL) tournament. Tournament host Lindenwood will broadcast both games (link: https://glvcsn.com/lindenwood/).
“I think that was a good way to finish the regular season,” Olson said. “Hopefully, we carry that momentum forward. The playoffs are a different animal. Any team can turn it on, and I think it could be us.”