Cyclone Hockey fell to 7-6-1 after a 1-0 loss to the Central Oklahoma Bronchos on Saturday night. This followed a 2-1 loss on Friday that ended in a shootout.
The series saw two close, competitive games with plenty of chances for both teams. Those chances were matched by solid defense and solid net minding.
“Overall, I thought we played pretty well,” said Iowa State coach Jason Fairman. “We had a lot of chances. I’m not displeased with the effort.”
After scoring eleven goals over their previous two series, the Cyclones registered one goal in the series against Central Oklahoma.
Friday’s game saw 27 shots on goal for the Cyclones compared to 38 shots on goal for the Bronchos. The margin was slimmer Saturday night, with the Bronchos having a 28-21 edge.
“It’s just unfortunate we didn’t get any bounces,” Fairman said. “We had a number of point-blank chances, and we didn’t score.”
Central Oklahoma put pressure on the Cyclones in their own zone. At times, this helped the Cyclone offense by creating chances when breaking through. Other times, it contained the offense.
In Friday’s game, the Cyclones were able to quickly outlet the puck to Ray Zimmerman. He ended up scoring an odd man rush goal.
The Cyclones were not able to repeat the same feat Saturday night.
“There were times they bottled us in, but for the most part I think that’s what gave us those opportunities because they were being so aggressive,” Fairman said. “Sometimes they had the advantage, pinned us in, but I think more often than not, it led to offense for us once we got out of the zone.”
Along with some early chances, one of the best chances of Saturday night's game for the Cyclone offense came just over halfway through the third period when Zimmerman saw his shot deflect off the frame of the goal.
Coming into this weekend, the Cyclones had only failed to score in one game. That count is now two.
This weekend also marks the lowest scoring series for the Cyclones this season.
“It’s just us not converting on our opportunities,” Fairman said. “That’s been a challenge for us all year.”
The defense of each team ended up being an important part of the series, just three goals were scored between the two teams on the combined 114 shots on goal.
Central Oklahoma had 66 shots on goal in the series, with the Cyclone blueliners and goalie Nikita Kozak only allowing two of them to score.
“We’ve always taken pride in our defensive play,” Fairman said. “I think that showed again this weekend.”
Shootout:Cyclones ❌ ❌ ❌ (Paulson)Bronchos ❌ ✅#cyclonehockey— Cyclone Hockey (@CycloneHockey) November 2, 2019
This weekend is tied for the second-best Cyclone defensive performance of the season in terms of goals against. The Cyclones allowed one goal in the Waldorf series and two goals in the Jamestown series along with this series.
The Cyclones killed all four penalty plays the Bronchos had in Friday’s game.
Saturday’s game saw the Cyclones only fall short on one penalty kill, but that one power play goal for the Bronchos ended up being the difference in the game.
That goal came from Vitalii Mikhailov at 11:57 in the second period.
The Bronchos’ penalty kill was solid, with the Cyclones unable to take advantage of the power plays they had in the series.
“If we can start converting some of these chances, we’re going to be a tough team to play — which I think we already are, but I think we’ll have more of these close games be in our favor,” Fairman said.
The Cyclones will return to action this upcoming weekend against the University of Illinois at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.