Cyclone Hockey finished the weekend strong in a sweep against No. 12 University of Illinois. After a 4-1 win Friday, the Cyclones capped it off with a 6-3 win Saturday.
The Cyclones started off quicker Saturday than they did Friday scoring four goals within the first period.
“We wanted to set the tone, and I think we did a good job doing that tonight,” said sophomore forward/defenseman Dylan Goggin.
The first goal came from senior forward Aaron Azevedo just 2:37 into the game. Freshman forward C.J. Banser scored the team’s second goal, followed by two more goals from Goggin and sophomore defenseman Max Olson.
The Cyclones went into the locker room during the first intermission with a four-goal cushion, but didn’t want to get too comfortable.
“We’ve had games where we thought the work was over for the night and we’ve let teams get back into the game,” said head coach and general manager Jason Fairman.
This, however, was not one of those games. The Illini scored their first goal of the game on a power play with 17:12 left in the second period, but senior forward Tony Uglem answered right back with a goal less than a minute later to make the score 5-1.
The Illini’s Stephen Quinn scored two unanswered goals, one at the end of the second period and one at the start of the third on a power play. However, Uglem struck back yet again, just 15 seconds later, to make the score 6-3.
“I liked that we answered after a couple of their goals," Fairman said. "I thought that was important."
Uglem, who plays on a line with senior forwards Aaron Azevedo and Colton Kramer, had a big weekend, as did the entire line.
Fairman said they have a lot of chemistry because they’re the same year in school and have been playing together for all four years now.
“We know what the other’s gonna do with the puck, and where they’re going to be,” Uglem said. “It’s really nice, it makes it easy.”
That line produced two of the team’s goals Friday, and three of them Saturday, so it’s safe to say that they’re clicking offensively.
It also helped give the team that cushion that they were able to play with Saturday, and not let up on.
“It tests our confidence as a team and making sure we can play with a lead and be confident in the way we’re making plays. Not just backing off and playing too conservative,” Goggin said.
Goggin, who’s playing a crucial role for the team in being able to play both forward and defenseman, scored the game’s third goal.
The game’s fourth goal came on the power play, which has also been very good lately for the Cyclones.
“We have two great shooters at the point with Max and Nick, so if we can get them shots and get us going to the net, we’re going to get a lot of [power play] goals,” Uglem said.
Special teams certainly proved to be a key factor in both wins of the weekend series against the Illini.
Now the team is looking ahead to the next opponent.
“It’s always nice to get a sweep, especially against a division rival like Illinois,” Goggin said. “They’re a good team ... it’s always good to get some momentum for the weekend coming ahead against Lindenwood.”
The team will play No. 1 Lindenwood University next weekend at home after winning three of the last four home games.
The Cyclones continue to do what they need to do in order to beat both top-ranked teams, and their own division rivals, as well.
“We’re taking a step to becoming the team we need to be to make a run at the national tournament,” Fairman said.