Record-wise, Cyclone hockey is off to a perfect start to the 2017-18 season. However, they’ll face their toughest challenge to date when the 20th ranked Oklahoma Sooners come to town for the Cyclones' Alumni Weekend series.
Coming off a sweep of Illinois State in their first series of the season, the Cyclones were able to to dispatch Waldorf in back-to-back games with relative ease.
Iowa State was able to take advantage of what was an undermanned Warriors squad to the tune of nine goals in two games, and goalie play was once again stellar for the Cyclones with the tandem of Derek Moser and Matt Goedeke closing the door on all but one shot throughout the weekend.
This weekend, however, the Cyclones will face the Oklahoma Sooners, a team that has finished near the top of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) standings in past years.
While Oklahoma’s 2-3 record to start the year may look pedestrian upon first glance, this is due to the fact that the Sooners have played a tough schedule to start the season. All three of the team’s losses have come to Top 25 teams.
Cyclone hockey coach Jason Fairman is well aware of this fact and notes that if the they don’t bring their best this weekend against the Sooners, things could go south.
“The meat of our schedule is going to start now this weekend against Oklahoma,” Fairman said. “Our deficiencies will be exposed this coming weekend if we’re not on top of it and right now we have a lot of deficiencies.”
Among these deficiencies, according to Fairman, is that the team hasn’t been up to his standards defensively or on the penalty kill. Additionally, the Cyclones got caught up in playing a chippy game last weekend against Waldorf, which resulted in the team being on the penalty kill for the majority of the third period.
Fairman notes that, based on past experiences, Oklahoma will likely try to play a similarly chippy style and the Cyclones can’t get sucked into it this time.
“It took us out of the game,” Fairman said. “We were dominating the first part of that game and the third period we were killing penalties all the time. We want to avoid that trap this weekend against Oklahoma.”
The Cyclones haven’t played the Sooners since the 2015 playoffs and haven’t played them in the regular season since 2014. The Cyclones won the game in 2015 and split the series in 2014, but many players on the roster today weren’t around for any of those games.
One player who was on the 2015 national tournament team is current defenseman and team captain Kody Reuter, who’s looking forward to the challenge of playing a big-name program with a track record of success.
“It’s pretty cool,” Reuter said. “I don't think I’ve played them since freshman year in the national tournament, so it’ll be pretty cool to play a bigger school like that, a Big 12 school. We definitely want to represent for Iowa State.”