By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
When the Division I Cyclones take the ice this weekend, it will be against a familiar foe: the Minot State Beavers. In the midst of the familiarity, several new Cyclones will be introduced to the rivalry.
Head Coach Jason Fairman said the young players on the team don’t know the full history but know enough to realize they need to bring their best this weekend.
“It’s obviously become a rivalry and they are always good games,” Fairman said. “We need to be at our best and I think the guys realize that.”
Senior Max Olson, however, is accustomed to playing the Beavers. He said he has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder as Minot State is the team that beat the Cyclones in the 2019 National Championship, but he is ready for the weekend.
“I’m pretty excited for it,” Olson said. “They always put together a solid team and it’s always a fun weekend.”
Minot State enters the series averaging 5.24 goals per game and 2.12 goals against in its 17 games so far this season. The Beavers’ most recent games occurred last weekend against the Midland Warriors.
Iowa State last took the ice on Jan. 22-23 as a postponement delayed last weekend’s series against McKendree.
With the increased time between games, Fairman said he has his concerns.
“It’s hard to stay sharp. Regardless of what you do in practice, games are very different,” Fairman said.
Even though the experience of a game is irreplaceable, Olson said the team is doing its best to keep the pace up in practice and to practice at game tempo.
“This week of practice is going to be huge. That was a really good one we had today,” Olson said after Tuesday’s practice. “[…] The weeks off are definitely hard.”
The Cyclones (10-2) and Beavers (14-2-1) will face off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday from the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Both games will be streamed through Stretch (link: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/isuhockey/).
“This is the first big test of the season for us,” Fairman said. “I hope the guys are up for it.”