By Jared Bravard, @JaredBravard
This past weekend, the now-No. 10 Cyclones (12-7-1) picked up their first sweep since Jan. 8-9 with 9-1 and 6-3 wins over the McKendree University Bearcats (3-5).
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t have a more consistent effort, but the good news is we got the sweep,” said Head Coach Jason Fairman.
After coming off of their first scoreless series of the season, the Cyclones tallied 15 goals between the two games, just one behind the season-high 16 they scored against Waldorf back in October.
Friday’s game saw the Cyclones score a season-high nine goals. The message going into the series from Fairman focused on scoring, and the Cyclones did just that.
“It was good to see us start scoring,” said Max Kamper after Friday’s game. “That’s been a problem we’ve had this year and last year.”
Ryan Nelson saw additional high-quality offense from the Cyclones in Saturday’s game.
“I thought we were pretty creative offensively,” Nelson after Saturday’s game. “[…] It was a good confidence booster for everybody.”
The Cyclones outshot the Bearcats 42-17 in Friday’s game and 49-24 on Saturday.
Fairman thought the Cyclones could have recorded a shutout on Friday, but they had one breakdown in the defensive zone.
“I was disappointed that they got that goal — which was a miscue,” Fairman said. “Most goals scored against are but I would’ve liked to have had that back.”
In Saturday’s game, Fairman saw more play like this throughout the game. He also noted receiving a too many men penalty cannot happen.
“We were sloppy. I’m disappointed,” Fairman said after Saturday’s contest. “[…] I’m feeling unfulfilled about tonight’s game.”
The Cyclones had to kill five total penalties Saturday night. Nelson also saw what Fairman noted in terms of coverage as two of the three Bearcat goals came off of shots from the slot.
“They got a couple good chances in the slot,” Nelson said after Saturday’s game. “We were pretty lackadaisical in the defensive zone.”
Friday’s high-scoring effort will help the team heading into the end of the season, according to Eli Kopish.
“It should give us a good momentum boost going into the conference tournament and hopefully nationals after that,” Kopish said.
Nelson also wants to keep building on the offensive creativity as the Cyclones approach tournament time.
“We’ve gotta keep it going, heading into the playoffs,” Nelson said.
The Cyclones have a home and home series against the Midland Warriors March 19-20. Friday’s game is at 7:45 p.m. in Fremont, Nebraska. A live stream is available through Stretch (link: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/midland/). Saturday’s game is at 7:30 p.m. in Ames, Iowa. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. The game will also be streamed through Stretch (link: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/isuhockey/).