By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
The Division II Cyclones took care of business in their opening game of the 2021 American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II National Tournament. Iowa State (12-7-1) defeated the Jamestown Jimmies (11-20-2) by a score of 4-2 in Friday evening’s contest.
“I’m pleased we got the win,” said Head Coach Jason Fairman. “I’m a little bit concerned that it was closer than it should’ve been. We did a lot of good things considering the last time they played was 25 days ago.”
The Cyclones took the lead at 4:27 in the first period. Sam Dorfman stole the puck behind the net and quickly fired a pass into the low slot. The centering pass found an open Jordan Hillman for a one-timer that beat the glove of Jamestown goalie Jimmy Grosklaus.
The lead did not last long as the Jimmies tied the game just 18 seconds later. Keaton Cline had the puck in the near corner and sent a pass into the low slot. Connor Rollo’s one-timer beat Cyclone goalie Devin Naidow’s blocker to tie the game.
“They got a little jump after that,” Fairman said. “[…] Anything can happen in a playoff game, particularly if you let a team score and they have hope.”
Both teams registered chances throughout the rest of the period, including a Jamestown breakaway. Naidow was equal to the task as both goalies kept the puck out of the net for the remainder of the frame. The Cyclones had the lone power play in the period, but the game sat at 1-1 after 20 minutes.
The Cyclones again grabbed the lead when Mason McIntosh lit the lamp at 4:49 in the second period. Cameron Barto fired a shot from the point, and McIntosh — who was just outside the crease — deflected it past Grosklaus. Peter Meyer also tallied an assist.
“I thought we were pretty dominant from a territorial standpoint,” Fairman said.
As the period progressed, the Cyclones used their zone time advantage to keep the lead for the majority of the frame. Jamestown tied the game up once again with less than two minutes until the break. Naidow saved the initial shot from the point, but Lukas Brockman tapped in the rebound goal at 18:16. Josh Hoffman and Kirwin Johnson recorded the assists.
“We made a couple of bad plays and it cost us,” Fairman said.
Like the first period, the Cyclones had the lone power play, but Jamestown found the kill once again. The score sat at 2-2 after the second despite the Cyclones’ territorial advantage.
Iowa State did not waste much time in the third period taking the lead for the third time in the game. Meyer had the puck deep in the near corner as he found Brown open in the low slot. Brown’s one-timer slipped past Grosklaus at 1:49. Jarett Green also recorded an assist.
“We had a lot of energy and excitement — actually too much in some respects where we had to manage that a little bit on the bench,” Fairman said. “But it was good to see the excitement level and the enthusiasm from the players.”
Unlike the first two periods, the Cyclones found a consecutive goal to increase their lead and ultimately hold off the Jimmies. The final goal of the game occurred at 5:42 in the third period. Brown had the puck below the goal line and found Ryan Hempel in the low slot. Hempel’s one-timer beat Grosklaus five-hole to give the Cyclones a 4-2 lead. Meyer tallied his third assist of the game on the play.
Later in the third, the Cyclones picked up their first and only penalty of the game. With just 17 seconds left in the advantage, a Jimmie was sent to the box allowing the Cyclones to skate 5-on-4 once again. During the power play, Jamestown searched for a short-handed goal on an odd-man rush, but Naidow came up with the save.
The Cyclones once again recorded a lot of zone time in the third on their way to a 34-19 shot advantage throughout the game. Naidow saved 17 shots for a percentage of 0.895. Grosklaus’ percentage finished at 0.882 as he stopped 30 shots. Both teams finished the game perfect on the kill with the Jimmies recording one to the Cyclones’ three.
Game two of pool play is 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The Cyclones take the ice against the Williston State College Tetons (13-19-1). The Tetons defeated the Marian Sabres during the first game of their pool play.
“It’s certainly going to be a tougher game,” Fairman said. “Some of the mistakes we made could cost us, but I think the guys are excited and are welcoming the challenge.”