Iowa State vs McKendree

Then-junior Jeremy Szczurek fights for the puck during the Cyclone Hockey versus McKendree University game on Nov. 30. The Cyclones lost to the Bearcats 5-2.

No matter what Cyclone Hockey did offensively, it was negated by Brady Griffin and the Missouri State defense.

It led to Iowa State's first loss of the season.

Despite putting up 43 shots, the Cyclones were held off the scoreboard for the first time in four games as the Ice Bears left the Ames/ISU Ice Arena with a 2-0 victory on Saturday.

"[Griffin] made some saves, [but] we made that goaltender look like he had the fastest chest in the league," said Cyclones head coach Jason Fairman. "We're shooting where he doesn't have to move."

For the second straight series, the Friday game and Saturday game looked like night and day.

The Cyclones dominated Waldorf in the season opener, then struggled on the road to put the puck in the net and eventually grind out an overtime victory.

After seeing a two-goal lead squashed then come back against Missouri State, the Cyclones were shutout on their home ice.

Although Fairman said it's too early to start trend setting, he didn't ignore it.

"I felt we dominated at Waldorf, too," Fairman said. "I don't know if we ran out of gas, we got away from our game that had been successful for 55 minutes."

Each time a Cyclones player received the puck, particularly Dylan Goggin or Ray Zimmerman, multiple Missouri State defenders swarmed to them.

Fairman believes the third-ranked Cyclones possessed the puck around 75-80 percent of the match. 

It didn't matter.

Missouri State used speed and agility to stop the multitude of chances Cyclone Hockey had throughout the 60 minutes.

Payton McSharry, for the third time in the series, shot high and missed on a breakaway in the first period. Deflected pucks in mid-air went into Griffin's glove. Passes cross-ice were just a bit off in the Ice Bears zone.

Nothing seemed to go the Cyclones' — who had scored multiple goals in the first three games — way.

"We had a couple guys that could've had six, seven goals this weekend. You couldn't have asked for better chances," Fairman said. "Our sense is we dominated so much, that we should've won and the fact that we didn't, hurts."

Scoreless after the opening 20 minutes, 14th-ranked Missouri State lit up the scoreboard at the 13 minute, 32 second mark of the second period.

Hunter Cooley found Nikita Salnikov right in front of Cyclones net minder Nikita Kozak, and the junior from Penza, Russia, flipped it over Kozak for his fifth goal of the year to give Missouri State a 1-0 lead.

ISU v Ohio University 8.JPG

Then-sophomore forward Dylan Goggin during the game at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena on Oct. 19, 2018. The Cyclones lost 4-1 after a well-fought game.

"Game of mistakes," Fairman said. "It's unfortunate the only major one that cost us the game. We're all disappointed"

Cyclone Hockey began the third period aggressive, holding at one point a 10-1 lead in shots in the opening five minutes.

After calling a timeout with 1:23 remaining, Kozak was pulled for the extra attacker. Missouri State won the faceoff and Derek Smith fired down the ice for the empty net goal that sealed the second road win of the season for the Ice Bears.

Even though Cyclone Hockey came away with a split, Fairman is actually more encouraged after four games with his team.

"I'm pretty happy with the way we played; you saw a lot of good things this weekend," Fairman said. "The passing, for as few practices we had, it bodes well for the future."

Cyclone Hockey will travel to Bloomington, Illinois, next weekend for its first road series of the season against the Illinois State Redbirds.

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