By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
The Division II Cyclones (14-7-1) defeated the Marian Sabres (14-1-2) by a score of 4-3 in overtime on Saturday evening. Iowa State finished 3-0 in Pool C to earn a spot in the semifinals.
Assistant Coach Shaun Gibbons saw the team push through and secure the win despite being tired.
“Overall, I thought the guys played well,” Gibbons said. “I know three games in a row three days in a row is hard on the body.”
The game sat scoreless for the first 25 minutes of play. Marian registered some early chances in the first period, but Cyclone goalie Devin Naidow kept the puck out of the net. The Cyclones then gained control and had several chances of their own, but Sabre goalie Alex Kruger was up to the task.
Just one penalty occurred in the first period, and the Cyclones were unable to convert on the power play.
The opening goal came at 5:37 in the second period. The Cyclones cleared the zone, and James Frantz left the puck for Jordan Hillman in the near faceoff circle. Hillman found Sam Dorfman in the low slot, and his one-timer beat the outstretched leg of Kruger.
Less than three minutes later, the Sabres tied the game. Jason Vrogler let off the gas during the odd-man rush and found Dom Pajor just outside the crease. Pajor poked the puck past Naidow at 8:19.
“The guys responded well,” Gibbons said. “There was no negativity on the bench. The guys were pumping each other up.”
Late in the second period, Barto was sent to the box for cross-checking. The teams then skated 4-on-4 until Sabre Dan Liberko went to the box 47 seconds later. The Cyclones recorded several shots on net before Barto came out of the box with just seconds left in the period. After a couple more shots, the period ended with the score still at 1-1.
“Their goalie played a heck of a game,” Gibbons said. “He definitely kept them in it.”
The Cyclones skated 5-on-4 for the first 45 seconds of the third, but the score remained 1-1. Midway through the third, the Cyclones found a power-play goal in their third advantage of the game. The puck was loose in front of the net, and Blake Ramsey poked it in at 11:11 to give the Cyclones a 2-1 lead.
Less than two minutes later, Iowa State increased its lead to 3-1. Hillman carried the puck into the zone and found Frantz in the slot. Frantz’s one-timer beat Kruger’s glove at 12:55.
The Sabres responded with two goals of their own toward the end of the third period. Carter Broton’s initial shot hit the skate of a Cyclone defenseman. Broton raced to the puck just before it got to the crease and beat Naidow five-hole at 16:05 to make the score 3-2.
Marian then scored at 18:31 to tie the game at three apiece. The teams skated 4-on-4 when Marian took a timeout and pulled Kruger to set up a 5-on-4 with an empty net. On the ensuing faceoff, the puck went to Karl Lavoie at the point. His wrister made it through several bodies and into the back of the net.
The teams then entered a 10-minute, sudden-death overtime, skating 5-on-5. The Cyclones played to their strengths throughout the game. Puck movement and cycling led to offensive success for the Cyclones, according to Gibbons.
“There were times when we were cycling in their zone and it kind of seemed like they were on the penalty kill even though we were at even strength,” Gibbons said.
Iowa State found the game-winner at 6:14 in overtime. Dorfman circled behind the net, but Kruger saved his shot. Hillman stood waiting just outside the crease. His stick got to the puck before Kruger could cover it.
The Cyclones recorded six penalties throughout the game. They had combined for only three in their first two games of the tournament.
“I think emotions definitely got the better of both teams as well,” Gibbons said. “That’s the most penalties we’ve had all weekend in a game.”
Iowa State finished the game 4/5 on the kill to Marian’s 2/3. The final shots totaled 46-23 in favor of the Cyclones. Naidow made 20 saves for a percentage of 0.870. Kruger stopped 42 shots for a percentage of 0.913.
The Cyclones finish 3-0 in pool play and advance to the semifinals where they will meet No. 2 Lindenwood. The puck drop is 2:30 p.m. on Monday.
“We’ve got a great opportunity here and I think our team’s something special,” Gibbons said. “[…] “I’m very confident in our guys and their abilities.”