Third-ranked Cyclone hockey split with 15th-ranked Missouri State over the weekend, triumphing in the opener 3-2 before falling 2-0 in the finale. Still, despite a 1-1 record, head coach Jason Fairman was not in a sour mood.
A roster compromised of just two seniors - the starting goalie and a third-line winger - Fairman stated he didn't want to play an Ice Bears team that was experienced and returned many of their playmakers so early in the season.
Yet, the Cyclones held their own.
Very few times during the course of 120 minutes did the Cyclones not control the puck, and while the passing was much crisper Saturday than Friday, the outcome wasn't.
Despite this, Fairman had only glowing things to say about his squad.
"You saw a lot of good things this weekend," Fairman said after Saturday's loss. "The passing, for as few practices as we've had, it bodes well for the future. I think we played better tonight than last night. We're more encouraged."
Penalty kill remains perfect
Fairman has said multiple times Cyclone hockey hasn't practiced power plays or penalty kills, yet he just rolls out veterans who can fill the needed roles.
The Cyclones have yet to allow a power play goal and came up big in Friday's series opener.
Andrew Lee was called for holding with a minute and 58 seconds left in regulation, so Cyclone hockey was down a man for the rest of the game.
The penalty kill unit allowed one Ice Bears shot on goal.
"We were feeling good about it," junior captain Dylan Goggin said after Friday's win. "Having a veteran PK, very helpful. A lot of guys know what they're doing, just comes down to execution."
Mistakes, chances that can be fixed
Multiple times during the weekend Iowa State had opportunities to score more than three goals over two games.
Breakaways were denied, side of the net passes failed to connect, and clearance of the puck from the defensive zone rarely occurred against Missouri State.
As the schedule gets harder and Central States Collegiate Hockey League play gets underway in two weeks against second-ranked Lindenwood, those opportunities can't be squelched.
Fairman isn't pressing the panic button, as a weekend series with Illinois State can present the perfect time for those mistakes to be corrected and chances to be buried.