Cyclone Hockey traveled to Missouri to face off with the No. 3 Lindenwood Lions, with Lindenwood (23-7-0) sweeping the Cyclones (18-15-3) by scores of 4-1 and 3-2. The second game required a shootout, as the game was tied 2-2 after 65 minutes. After nine rounds in the shootout, the Lions prevailed.
Early-period and late-period scoring
Saturday’s game saw several early-period goals. Lindenwood took the lead at the 33-second mark in the first period. The Lions doubled their lead by scoring at 0:30 in the second period.
The Cyclones answered 10 seconds later at 0:40, cutting the lead in half.
In the third period, the Lions again tallied an early goal, this time at the 57-second mark to take a 3-1 lead.
“The disappointing thing was they scored three of their goals in the first minute of each period,” Head Coach Jason Fairman said. “That’s never happened since I’ve been here. Generally, we don’t want to give up a goal in the first minute or last minute — particularly in the last minute — but certainly early shifts, they can be a negative tone setter for the rest of the period or even a game.”
Lindenwood added a goal at 5:23 in the third to secure the victory.
Sunday’s game had one early-period goal and a crucial late-period goal. Cyclone forward Matty Moran scored at 2:35 in the second period to open the game’s scoring. After a Lindenwood answer and another Cyclone goal, the score was 2-1 at the end of the second period in favor of Cyclone Hockey.
The Cyclones held this lead until Lindenwood defenseman Colton Craigo scored at the 15:35 mark of the third. Craigo’s goal sent the game to overtime and eventually to a shootout, as no other goals were tallied after his.
Fairman thought increasing the lead to 3-1 could have had a large impact on the outcome of the game, saying it would have helped the Cyclones’ psyche and possibly halted Lindenwood’s desperate hopes of a tying goal.
“I think they were playing pretty desperate at the end to get that tying goal, and they ultimately did, but if we had a two-goal lead, I don’t know if they would’ve had the same energy,” Fairman said. “When you only have a one-goal lead, it’s desperation time for them, and they were able to capitalize.”
With the Cyclones down 1-0 early on Saturday, they were in danger of being down by 2 goals when Matty Moran was called for tripping at 3:26 in the first. The Cyclones killed the penalty, keeping the score at 1-0.
In the second period with the Cyclones trailing 2-1, Lindenwood’s Blake Finley was sent to the box for slashing. Cyclone Hockey was not able to capitalize on the ensuing power play to tie the game.
Fairman said Lindenwood was aggressive on its penalty kill, making it difficult for the Cyclones to score with the man advantage.
Each team went 1-4 on the power play in Sunday’s game. Lindenwood used its power play to tie the game 1-1 in the second.
“We just had some key breakdowns, sort of been our Achilles heel in addition to not being able to score timely goals,” Fairman said.
A few minutes later, Cyclone forward Stuart Pearson used the power play to tally a goal to take back the lead.
The Cyclones started the third period with a 2-1 lead. At 2:05 in the third, Cyclone forward Brian Bandyk was sent to the box. He was soon joined by Max Olson at the 3:20 mark, causing the Cyclones to skate 5-on-3 for 45 seconds.
Cyclone Hockey killed both penalties to keep its 2-1 lead. Fairman said this helped the team but not immediately.
“Generally, when you take a penalty — whether it’s 5-on-4 or 5-on-3 — it’s hard to regain momentum,” Fairman said. “It usually takes a couple shifts to get it back. We got a little bump from killing it, but it still takes a little bit of time to regain momentum and get back into the flow of 5-on-5.”
Shots and saves
This marks the first time the Cyclones were outshot in both games in a series since November against Minot State. Lindenwood had 92 shots on goal across the two games to Cyclone Hockey’s 53.
“I think the quality chances for both teams were about even, so I think we did a good job of keeping their shots to the outside,” Fairman said. “I don’t know if there’s a better team in the nation than Lindenwood. I know they’re ranked third because Adrian and Liberty, but I have to believe that Lindenwood is much better than those two teams.”
Cyclone Hockey outshot its opponents 377-352 in the last five series, including the Lindenwood series. The Cyclones were outscored 34-20 in that span, with a record of 3-6-1.
Lindenwood’s goalies split time in the series. Cooper Seedott played on Saturday and Stephen Friedland on Sunday.
Seedott entered the weekend with a save percentage of 94.8. His save percentage on Saturday was 95.7 (22 saves on 23 shots). Friedland moved to 4-0-0 with the Sunday win. He began the weekend with a save percentage of 91.5 and recorded a 93.3 percent on Sunday. Friedland has given up six goals on 75 shots this season.
“We went toe-to-toe with the number three team in the nation — arguably, in my opinion, the best team in the nation,” Fairman said.
The Cyclones close out the regular season against Oklahoma. The puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. Saturday’s game is senior night.