By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
After losing 3-2 on Friday, the Cyclones bounced back and beat the Indiana Tech Warriors 5-2 on Saturday.
Head Coach Jason Fairman knows the win was important but also knows the scope of it is not as easily understood this season.
“There just hasn’t been enough games and enough teams playing right now to realize the significance of this win, but I think long-term, we’re going to look back at this and say this was a big win for us,” Fairman said.
Entering the series, the Cyclones had allowed only one power-play goal on the year in the 12 times they have been on the kill. They continued that success this weekend successfully killing all nine penalties — three on Friday and six on Saturday.
Success on the special teams continued on the power play.
“I think our units are developing a little chemistry,” Fairman said. “They’re getting some looks on the power play. We may not be converting as much as we’d like, but I think it’s encouraging that we’re starting to get in a rhythm with our power play units.”
The power play gave Cyclone Hockey a boost in Saturday’s game when Indiana Tech took a five-minute major. Ray Zimmerman and Everett Bestland both scored during that time to take a 2-1 lead.
Third period success
In Friday’s game, the Cyclones made plays in the third to keep the game close. On Saturday, the Cyclones scored three third period goals to put the game away.
Fairman said slow starts generally happen on the road in the first game but saw progress over the course of the two games.
“I think we got better as the weekend went on,” Fairman said.
Two of the penalty kills happened just over the midway point of Friday’s game. With the Cyclones down 3-1, they killed back-to-back penalties to stay within reach.
The Cyclones also found scoring success in the third period. Four of their seven goals were scored in the final frame of the game.
After both games, Fairman noted how the team responded to the situation at hand.
“I don’t think we were ready for the speed and tenacity that Indiana Tech brought to us early but we adjusted as the game went on,” Fairman said after Friday’s game.
The Cyclones found themselves down 3-0 after the first 22 minutes on Friday. Brooks Mitzel got a goal in the second and Ryan Nelson another late in the third but the 3-0 proved to be too much on that night.
On Saturday, Cyclone Hockey again got down early. This time, it was only 1-0 at the midway point of the second period. The Cyclones quickly grabbed the lead with goals in the second half of the period to take a 2-1 lead into the second break.
Indiana Tech scored early in the third to tie the game, but the Cyclones again answered the call with a goal from Stuart Pearson in the next shift to retake the lead.
Fairman said that was a key moment in the game, and that goal gave the Cyclones the boost they needed to win. He was also pleased with the early game response.
“We fought through some adversity with penalties and the game being rough,” Fairman said after Saturday’s game. “I thought we responded well to all of that so it was a well-fought victory.”
Cyclone Hockey (5-1-0) faces the Midland Warriors (4-0-0) this Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game will take place in Fremont, Nebraska. Saturday’s game will be in Ames, Iowa at 4:30 p.m.
“We just need to keep progressing as a team week after week and I think for the most part we’ve done that,” Fairman said.