Cyclone Hockey wrapped up its series against the Colorado State University Rams on Saturday, ending the series in a split.
The Cyclones took the game on Friday, winning 3-0. The Rams then beat the Cyclones 2-1 in Saturday’s game to even the series.
The Cyclones dominated on shots in both games. On Saturday, they just weren’t going in for the team.
“We didn’t have a killer instinct...guys weren’t going hard to the net,” said head coach and general manager Jason Fairman. “It’s tough to play inside the house, and I don’t think we were willing to pay that price tonight.”
The first goal of Saturday’s game came in the third period, 39 seconds in, courtesy of Colorado State’s Tyler Nelson.
Sophomore defenseman Max Olson tied the game for the Cyclones with 11:52 left in the period, but Colorado State’s Christopher Nitchen scored less than three minutes later to make the score 2-1.
“We weren’t winning battles in front of the net, we didn’t really have the numbers there,” Olson said. “We’ve got to score those grimy goals and that wasn’t happening tonight, so it’s hard to win.”
Nitchen’s goal went on to be the last goal scored in the game, despite power play opportunities for both teams near the end of the third period.
The Cyclones fought hard until the end, even though the bounces weren’t going their way.
“I’m glad they battled at the end, but we shouldn’t put ourselves in that position in the first place — to have to battle at the end and scramble,” Fairman said.
Colorado State’s goaltender stopped 61 of 62 shots on goal in Saturday’s game and 37 of 40 in Friday’s game.
Junior goaltender Nikita Kozak got the start on Saturday night, where he stopped 29 of 31 shots on goal.
“Their goalie was playing hot," Kozak said. "He was aggressive in net and it was tough for us to get the puck around him."
The team was aiming for a sweep this weekend but still came out with one win after getting swept by Lindenwood last weekend.
Their record on this long, four-weekend homestand is 4-2-1-1. Now, they have to focus on the two-weekend road trip they’ll begin next weekend.
“It’ll be good to get on the road, do a little team bonding and spend some time together,” Olson said. “Ohio should be tough, they’re a good team and that’s a hard atmosphere to play in down there, so it will be a good test.”
The Cyclones will take on No. 5 Ohio next weekend and then will head to Illinois to face No. 13 Illinois.
Previously this season, the Cyclones split with Ohio and swept Illinois. No matter what, both weekends will be extremely important for the team.
“We’ve got some key opponents coming up, and hopefully we can get some momentum going into nationals,” Kozak said.
The Cyclones will return home for one last weekend series this season on March 1-2, to face the University of Central Oklahoma, which will mark the end of the regular season.