By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
The Division III Cyclones took to the ice this weekend against the Missouri State Ice Bears. After a 2-0 win on Friday, Missouri State completed the sweep with a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday.
“We’re a long way from being the team that we can be and will be,” said Head Coach Jason Fairman. “I don’t want to take anything away from Missouri State. They’re a good hockey team. We were more just playing as individuals than collectively as a team.”
Friday’s game remained scoreless for more than 30 minutes of play. Missouri State scored the first goal at 10:55 in the second period. Sean Sullivan won the faceoff, and the puck found Jacob Matthews at the point. Matthews drove a shot that hit Cyclone goalie Drew Pehrson in the chest. As Pehrson attempted to glove the puck, it slipped away from him and down onto the ice. Evan Lassanske poked the puck past Pehrson to give the Ice Bears a 1-0 lead.
The score remained 1-0 until the final minute of the third period. Iowa State took a timeout with 1:19 left in the game and went with an empty net.
The Ice Bears eventually cleared the puck, and Jacob Holmstrom raced into the neutral zone to collect it. He carried it into the Cyclone zone and saw the puck across the goal line for the empty-net goal at 19:31.
Iowa State finished the game with zero penalty minutes to Missouri State’s four. The Cyclones held a 35-31 shot advantage.
Missouri State goalie Ethan Taplin earned the shutout as he saved all 35 shots he faced. Pehrson made 29 saves for a percentage of 0.967.
“We just haven’t had enough time to work on things,” Fairman said. “We’re doing a lot of things that are uncharacteristic of how we would normally play.”
“It couldn’t be more disappointing than with what happened with the Division III team today,” Fairman said after Saturday’s game. “[…] The team did everything I asked in terms of the strategy.”
The game sat scoreless until the final seconds of the first period. Justin Koch fired a shot into Pehrson’s chest, and the puck fell just outside the crease. A.J. Dannegger slid it through Pehrson’s five-hole at 19:50.
The Ice Bears took that lead into the first intermission.
Alex MacDonald tied the game at 2:24 in the second period. Bryce Kessel got the puck to Jack Krolak who found MacDonald wide open in the slot. MacDonald’s wrister made it past Taplin’s glove and just inside the post.
The score sat at 1-1 through the end of the second period. The third period started with the teams skating 4-on-4 as Krolak and Josh Hansen were assessed penalties after the horn to end the second period.
During the 4-on-4 action, Liam Johnson collected the puck in his own zone. He carried it along the near boards and deep into the Missouri State zone. Johnson dragged the puck across the crease and his backhander slipped past Taplin for the unassisted goal to give the Cyclones the 2-1 lead at 1:46.
The score remained 2-1 until the final minute of the third period. The Ice Bears once again found a late period goal as they went with an empty net. Jake Schlereth circled behind the Cyclone net and found Hansen just outside the crease. Hansen poked it past Pehrson at 19:31 and sent the game into overtime.
Fairman took responsibility for the goal, as due to the lack of practices, that situation had not been talked about yet.
“We had a missed assignment which is my fault because we haven’t covered that yet,” Fairman said. “I don’t want to make excuses. Missouri State’s a good team but that’s on me because I didn’t cover the pulled goalie situation.”
The Ice Bears found the game-winner just 36 seconds into the overtime period. Ryan Moon circled behind the net and fired a shot from the slot that went wide. The puck bounced off the boards and back to Moon for another shot. Pehrson saved Moon’s shot, but Holmstrom was there to tap it in for the game-winner.
Fairman said another missed assignment led to the overtime goal similar to the goal at the end of the third period for Missouri State.
“That’s on me too because we haven’t practiced 3-on-3 yet,” Fairman said. “[…] I was playing the odds that it wouldn’t happen this weekend, but it did so that’s on me.”
Both teams killed one penalty each in Saturday’s contest. The Cyclones finished with four penalty minutes to the Ice Bears’ six.
Pehrson made 38 saves for a percentage of 0.927. Taplin recorded 27 saves as his percentage was 0.931.
“We have a long way to go and I think we’ll get there but with so few practices, it’s been a challenge getting everything implemented in such a short time,” Fairman said.
(Games occurred on Jan. 30-31)