By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
After another slow start, the Cyclones (6-1-0) picked up their fourth road win of the season on Friday night. They beat the Midland Warriors (4-1-0) by a score of 6-2.
Warrior Ondrej Blaha wasted no time getting the opening goal of the game. With the puck at the top of the crease, Blaha snuck a shot past Cyclone goalie Greg Moon at the 58-second mark of the first period for the unassisted goal.
Head Coach Jason Fairman said it was the Cyclones’ goal to score first that night.
“We got off to a poor start again,” Fairman said. “This is becoming a pattern that concerns me.”
The Cyclones scored a goal of their own at 13:30 in the first. During a four-on-four play, Midland had the puck in the neutral zone when the defenseman with it lost his footing. Cyclone forward Ray Zimmerman quickly skated to the puck and carried it into the Midland zone. Zimmerman circled behind the net and got the puck to Bill Bronson at the point. A few seconds later, Zimmerman found himself in the slot with the puck. His slapshot found its way past Warrior goalie Angus Laing.
The game remained tied at one for the rest of the first period.
Cyclone forward Brooks Mitzel tallied a goal at the 20-second mark of the second period. Chris Ciolek and Ryan Nelson got the puck to Mitzel, who circled behind the net and had the angle to get the puck past Laing.
Roughly a minute later, the Cyclones increased their lead to 3-1. Defenseman Joey Marcuccilli found forward Everett Bestland for the goal 1:29 into the period.
“Those two quick goals in the second set the tone for the rest of the period,” Fairman said. “That was probably the turning point in the game.”
Zimmerman also saw the impact of those goals, saying they were huge for the Cyclones.
“Once we got our legs under us, I think we started really moving,” Zimmerman said “We were able to put two quick ones home and I think that really deflated them.”
A few minutes later, Cyclone Hockey found itself on the power play. Nelson threaded a cross-ice pass to Zimmerman, who was open backdoor. Zimmerman fired the one-timer in at 7:44. Max Olson also picked up an assist on the play.
Zimmerman’s goal caused Midland to put freshman goalie Jaden Gardner into the game, but the power play conversions did not stop there for the Cyclones. Nelson again was involved as he got the puck to Stuart Pearson, who found fellow forward Payton McSharry just outside of the slot on the backside. McSharry got the puck past Gardner’s glove for the goal at 14:08.
After the four goal second period, the Cyclones found themselves with a 5-1 lead going into the third period.
Blaha scored his second goal of the night at 5:39 in the third off of the pass from Kolten Wright.
Cyclone forward C.J. Banser added the final goal of the night. Banser collected the puck in the slot and slipped it by Gardner at the 12:08 mark of the third period for the unassisted goal.
Each team recorded nine penalties. All were minors except for a four-minute double roughing on Max Kamper. Three of the penalties occurred at the same time, leaving six power play opportunities for both teams.
The Cyclones were two of six on the power play while the Warriors did not convert on any of their opportunities.
“I think our hard work pays off during our special teams, Mitzel said. “Overall, we had a pretty good game special teams-wise.”
The Cyclones outshot the Warriors 33-18. Cyclone goalie Greg Moon recorded 16 saves for a save percentage of 0.889. Laing made 11 saves, recording a save percentage of 0.733. Gardner’s save percentage on the night was 0.889 as he saved 16 shots.
Game two of the series is at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. The game will be streamed through Stretch (link: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/isuhockey/).