Freshman forward Stuart Pearson registered another game winning goal Friday night.
No. 24 Cyclone Hockey beat the No. 20 Oklahoma Sooners 3-2 in a game with playoff implications, as 20 teams make the national tournament.
The Cyclones got the eventual win, but Head Coach Jason Fairman said the offense wasn’t very efficient.
“I can think of three grade A scoring chances we had that we didn’t convert,” Fairman said. “[…] It’s been the story of the season, not being able to finish.”
Pearson said at the end of the day, the efficiency was what it needed to be but needs to be better.
In the second period, Cyclone Hockey held a 2-0 lead. In just over five minutes of game time, the Cyclones saw their lead evaporate. Oklahoma scored a late goal in the second period and an early goal in the third period to tie the game. The scoreboard showed over 19 minutes remaining.
It was the second straight series that the Cyclones gave up a goal in the first minute of a period. This time though, Cyclone Hockey came out on top.
With the game at 2-2 over halfway through the third, the Cyclones won the puck at the point. It remained just inside the zone for Pearson to collect and light the lamp at 13:23 for his third game-winner of the season.
“Our defenseman made a good pinch and took the body,” Pearson said. “Then the puck was just kinda laying there. I had room to take it to the center. Then one of their guys went down, which gave me an opportunity just to keep it and have a lane to the net and shoot.”
Pearson said the Cyclones had a meeting on the bench and were all on the same page for what needed to be done to close out the game. He also credits playing in several close games this season.
Cyclone forward Brooks Mitzel, who also scored a goal Friday, said he believed in the team’s ability to hold onto the lead after seeing Pearson’s shot hit the back of the net.
“Once that third goal went in, I think we knew that if we played the right way, we were gonna come out with a win,” Mitzel said.
Through the continued scoring troubles and early period goals, Fairman was still pleased with the win.
“It was a gritty win for us,” Fairman said. “It shouldn’t have been that close, but I’m still pleased that we were able to overcome that disappointing goal within the first minute of the third.
"We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves and pout.”