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Division II Hockey
D2 Cyclones fall short in national championship Photo Courtesy of Don Egdorf

Photo courtesy of Don Egdorf


By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard


The No. 3 Division II Cyclones (15-8-1) lost 2-0 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II National Championship to the No. 1 University of Mary Marauders (38-4-7) on Tuesday night.

“The guys battled hard. We got out to a good start,” said Head Coach Jason Fairman. “It was a game of minimizing mistakes and I think for the most part we did that.”

After 20 minutes of action, the game sat at 0-0 despite each team registering scoring chances. In the first few minutes of the game, Iowa State tallied four shots, but Marauder goalie Kyle Hayden kept the puck out of the net.

“We had some of our best chances of the game early and we had some good jump,” Fairman said. “We just weren’t able to maintain that.”

The Marauders registered their first shot on net just over six minutes into the period. Despite several more shots over the next few minutes, Devin Naidow kept the game scoreless.

Neither team picked up a penalty in the opening period. After the back-and-forth opening frame, Mary held a 13-8 shot advantage.

“Mary is a great hockey team and we went toe-to-toe with them,” Fairman said.

Photo courtesy of Don Egdorf

Just over one minute into the second period, the Cyclones picked up the first penalty of the game. Naidow again made a couple of big saves as the Cyclones killed the Mary advantage. 

A few minutes later, the Cyclones had a power play of their own, but Hayden and the Marauders kept the puck out of the net. After more back-and-forth action, Mary scored the game’s first goal at 12:24 in the second. Naidow made a save, and the puck bounced into the near faceoff circle. Marshall Tschida quickly sent a pass to Tanner Eskro, who was just outside the crease. Eskro tapped the puck in from close range to give the Marauders a 1-0 lead.

“We made some uncharacteristic mistakes,” Fairman said. “[…] “We weren’t as sharp as we have been. We were missing the net a lot and we were throwing pucks. We really haven’t done that much, particularly in the national tournament.”

With just over three minutes left in the period, the Marauders had another power play. The Cyclones again came up with the kill. Just seconds into the Mary advantage, Iowa State had an odd-man rush but could not get the shot on goal.

“Good teams are going to make you make plays like that,” Fairman said. “[…] After the first period, we just weren’t hitting the net.”

Mary took its 1-0 lead into the intermission. In the second period, the Marauders held a 12-8 shot advantage.

Photo courtesy of Don Egdorf

In the third period, it took several minutes for either team to record a shot on goal. Midway through the frame, the Cyclones found themselves down a man. They once again came up with the kill to finish 3/3 on the night.

“Our penalty kill unit was fantastic,” Fairman said. “They have a high-percentage power play and I thought we were very good.”

The Cyclones went to the power play with five minutes left in the third but were unable to get a shot on goal as the Marauders finished the game 2/2 on the kill. With 2:15 left in the period, the Cyclones took a timeout and went with the empty net. The puck stayed in the Mary zone for just over a minute before coming out of the zone for a faceoff. Naidow returned to the ice for a few seconds before leaving for a second time. 

Tschida then gained control of the puck below his own goal line and attempted to clear the zone. The puck slipped past a Cyclone defenseman at the blue line and went the length of the ice for the empty net goal at 19:41.

“I didn’t think that there were a lot of Grade A scoring chances on either side and that’s probably a testament to the fact that it’s the national championship game and guys had to play tight defense,” Fairman said. 

Iowa State held a 7-4 shot advantage in the third period to bring the total shots to 30-23 in favor of Mary. Naidow stopped 28 shots for a percentage of 0.966. Hayden earned the shutout stopping all 23 shots he faced. 

Naidow and defenseman Dan Duncan were both recognized on the all-tournament second team while forward Marco Escobar earned a spot on the all-tournament first team. 

Despite the disappointment, making it this far with a team of 19 freshmen, four sophomores and one senior is a positive, according to Fairman.

“Blake Ramsey deserves a lot of credit — and our other two captains — for mentoring a big group of young men. I couldn’t be more proud of them to make it all the way to the national championship game,” Fairman said. “[…] “I think upon reflection, guys will realize it was a pretty special season and it was a pretty special run in the national tournament.”

Photo courtesy of Don Egdorf