By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
The No. 6 Division II Cyclones (7-4-1) fell to the No. 1 University of Mary Marauders (27-2-4) in a shootout on Saturday night by a final score of 2-1.
“It was a good hockey game. Both teams had their chances to win,” said Head Coach Jason Fairman. “It went right down to the wire. I would think it was an entertaining game for the fans to watch.”
The Cyclones struck first with a goal at 1:22 in the opening period. Jon Koester drove a shot from the point off the chest of Marauder goalie Kyle Hayden. The puck landed just outside the crease at the feet of Mason McIntosh who scored the rebound goal.
A little over three minutes later, the Marauders tied the game after a missed defensive assignment on the Cyclones, according to Fairman.
“Hockey is a game of mistakes,” Fairman said. “[…] It’s unfortunate, but that’s hockey.”
Alex Flicek had the puck along the near boards. Flicek’s centering pass found a diving Kyler Moore open in the low slot. Moore’s wrister beat the glove of Cyclone goalie Devin Naidow at 4:41.
In Friday’s game, Fairman said the Cyclones taking a 2-0 lead was crucial in the game’s outcome. He thought a second goal on Saturday would have done the same.
“They came right back and scored and got a lot of energy,” Fairman said. “I sensed there was a lot of enthusiasm after that goal.”
After a back-and-forth remainder of the period, the Cyclones killed a penalty within the final three minutes to help keep the score at one apiece heading into the first intermission.
The second period saw similar play to the first with each team coming close to scoring a second goal.
“Both teams had chances and you’d like to avoid giving up chances but when you’re playing a quality team, that’s gonna happen,” Fairman said. “We had our chances; they had their chances.”
The Marauders killed their lone penalty in the period as the Cyclones killed their two to help the game remain at 1-1.
In the final minute of the second period, Blake Ramsey went to the penalty box. The Cyclones were on the penalty kill for the rest of the second and the first 1:14 of the third period. The kill was an important moment in the game, according to Fairman.
“That was a critical moment in the game,” Fairman said. “I think our guys did a great job. They have a good power play.”
Each team recorded another successful penalty kill in the third as again neither team could find the winning goal. The teams then entered the overtime period and skated 4-on-4, per the Division II handbook.
“I thought we were pretty good in overtime. We seemed to have pretty good possession,” Fairman said. “[…] I was pleased with the way we played.”
The Cyclones had a power play opportunity in the overtime period but could not convert as the 65 minutes did not separate the two teams.
In the shootout, the Marauders scored in the first round, and the Cyclones scored in the third. It then went to an extra round with the University of Mary coming away with the 2-1 shootout win.
Fairman was overall pleased with the game but saw an area for improvement.
“I think we need to clean up some of our defensive zone responsibilities, but part of that is what made it a great hockey game,” Fairman said.
The Cyclones outshot the Marauders 43-38. Naidow recorded 37 saves for a 0.974 percentage. Hayden’s percentage was 0.977 as he registered 42 saves. Both teams could not convert on any of their three power play opportunities.
The game goes down as a tie for ranking purposes, but Fairman knows the team wanted the shootout win.
“It was a good weekend of hockey. Certainly, we would’ve still liked to have won the shootout,” Fairman said. “[…] Upon reflection, they’ll probably feel pretty good about the weekend.”
The Division II Cyclones travel to Mequon, Wisconsin, March 4-5 to take on the Concordia University Wisconsin Falcons. It will be a rematch of the games that took place Jan. 30-31 in Ames, Iowa, which the Cyclones swept. A stream of the game will be available through Stretch (link: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/cuw/).