By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
In their final regular season series, the then-No. 10 Cyclones (13-7-2) split with the Midland Warriors (9-16-1). Midland picked up the 6-5 overtime win on Friday in Fremont, Nebraska. On Saturday, Iowa State tallied a season-high for goals in a game during its 12-2 win in Ames, Iowa.
Tale of two games
On Friday, Matty Moran and Ryan Nelson each tallied a goal in the first period to give the Cyclones a 2-0 lead just under 16 minutes into the period. Midland responded with a goal in the final two minutes of the first to make the score 2-1.
The Warriors then tacked on two goals in just over five minutes to start the second to grab a 3-2 lead. A few minutes later, Brooks Mitzel and Eli Kopish tallied goals just 29 seconds apart and the Cyclones regained their lead.
After taking the 4-3 lead into the intermission, Chris Ciolek recorded a goal just over five minutes into the third period. The Cyclones held this 5-3 lead throughout the majority of the period. With less than two minutes left in the third, Midland scored a power-play goal followed by a goal at 19:45 while skating 6-on-5. The Warriors found the game-winning goal at 1:24 in the overtime period.
The Cyclones were one for four on the power play and two for five on the kill in Friday’s loss.
The goal was to make a statement on Saturday, and the Cyclones did just that, according to Head Coach Jason Fairman.
“I think we were embarrassed and angry about what happened [Friday],” Fairman said after Saturday’s game.
The Cyclones scored early and often in game two and held a 5-0 lead after the first period. Iowa State then scored two more goals before the Warriors tallied their first of the night.
With a 9-1 lead after two periods, Midland tallied one goal in the final frame to the Cyclones’ three. All three Iowa State goals in the third were short-handed during a major penalty.
The Cyclones scored on two of their five power plays on Saturday and killed five of their six penalties, including a major penalty.
Justin Paulson said the team made it a point to have Saturday’s game be different.
“We were just having a lot of fun. In the locker room, guys had a lot of energy,” Paulson said. “We just know how it felt [Friday] and we didn’t want to feel like that again, so we kept our foot on the gas.”
Max Olson said the game was exciting and the variety of goals and goal scorers contributed to the fun of Saturday’s win.
“We saw a lot of different goals from a lot of guys — and one first goal,” Olson said. “That’s always a milestone, seeing that.”
Saturday’s game marked the final home game for three seniors: Andrew Lee, Max Olson and Justin Paulson.
Olson said it’s always sad when the season ends. This season’s ending, though, is bittersweet for him. However, the season-high 12 goals made for a quality finale.
“It was a good way to go out,” Olson said. “I had a lot of fun.”
Lee had similar thoughts to Olson about his final home game.
“It’s sad obviously that it’s all coming to an end. I’m really proud of the way the players came out tonight,” Lee said after Saturday’s game. “[…] I’m definitely gonna miss it.”
Paulson saw everyone in the locker room enjoy Saturday’s game, and he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
“It’s a great way to end it, especially after [Friday’s] game,” Paulson said. “You can’t ask for a better ending. Everyone was having fun. It’s a great group of guys to do it with so I had a blast.”
With postseason play around the corner, the key is more of the same, according to Paulson.
“We’ve just got to keep that same energy going into next weekend. We need to just remember how much fun we had Saturday and just keep it going,” Paulson said.
The Cyclones travel to Missouri this coming weekend for the Central States Collegiate Hockey League (CSCHL) conference tournament. Iowa State faces No. 6 Ohio on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. and tournament host No. 2 Lindenwood on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Both games will be streamed on the GLVC Sports Network (link: https://glvcsn.com/lindenwood/).